Giving feedback to another employee can be very difficult. However, it’s also an essential part of building successful teams. If an individual knows where they need to improve, it can help them grow within their role. Here are our tips for making those discussions a more positive experience:
- Choose an appropriate time and place. When delivering feedback be sure to leave enough time to discuss the issue without feeling rushed. Choosing a more relaxed environment can be helpful in less formal situations, while potentially difficult conversations should usually be addressed in an office or meeting room. Never give “negative” feedback in public.
- Start with questions. Because you never know another person’s situations or intentions, it’s best to start the dialog with questions rather than statements. This approach also creates a two-way interaction which can result in more positive outcomes.
- Be prepared. Identify your goals for the conversation and what you hope to achieve. Take time to consider both the employee’s successes, as well as any weaknesses, along with specific examples. Write them down to keep the discussion on track.
- Focus on the goal. Effective feedback will encourage problem-solving rather than forcing an employee to change. Make it clear you’re not trying to “fix” them, you’re trying to develop them. By focusing on behaviors and how they impact the team, the employee may be more receptive to development.
- Don’t sugarcoat it. In an attempt to be kind, we often soften difficult feedback by downplaying it or “sandwiching” it between two compliments. This can dilute your concern to the point that it’s not even heard. Instead, be direct and assertive — then discuss ways to reach a positive, actionable solution together.