|Host a Successful Feedback Session|
Feedback given during one-on-one employee meetings cannot lead to desired results without a proper plan in place. Keep in mind that the goal of feedback is not to criticize or praise, but to influence behavior and come up with concrete solutions for improvement. Generate a positive outcome and strengthen your workforce with these strategies.
Evaluate your relationship. Think about how well you know the employee and whether the relationship has been formal or friendly. Reflect on the feedback you have given the employee in the past, and ask yourself whether you have thoroughly and clearly explained requirements, expectations and metrics for that person’s role.
Plan the meeting. Construct an outline or schedule of topics and talking points you wish to cover in your meeting. This will allow the meeting to progress more smoothly and ensures you won’t forget anything you hope to cover. Include positive and negative examples of behavior, and come up with suggestions for potential solutions. Be prepared to be flexible throughout the conversation. It might not go to the way you planned, and you need to be ready to change course based on the person’s reaction.
Be firm but fair. Try to offer even negative feedback in a way that respects the employee. People tend to shut down when someone is heavily criticizing their behavior and performance. Don’t sugarcoat the information, but try to add something positive to what you’re trying to convey. A mistake can be sign of an employee’s desire to do the right thing, and recognizing this will mold your feedback in such a way that makes it easier to accept.
Take responsibility. Make sure to stand behind your feedback. Don’t speak for other people unless the situation requires it. This could perhaps be a group problem or an allegation of harassment. Blaming those above you will undercut the employee’s respect for you and your position.
Give people time to reflect on your feedback. Do not expect employees to instantly accept your information and yield immediate results. Effective feedback shouldn’t come as a complete surprise to the employee, but some people may need time to think about and process what you have told them. Listen to what they say; you might not agree, but showing that you hear them and appreciate their own feedback will increase your chances of a constructive outcome.
—Adapted from Communication Solutions October 2015 newsletter, www.communicationbriefings.com.