There is no question the word “feedback” can stir up feelings of uncertainty, fear and negativity in the workplace. You can even be met with resistance as some team members who have had bad experiences in the past prepare to be criticised or rejected for something they may or may not have said or done.
But as a leader, it’s important to help your team view feedback as an opportunity for growth. So how do you provide feedback in such a way that your team feels valued and inspired to create change?
This is something I help a lot of clients with therefore this blog is longer than my normal blogs, but I think it’s really important so I hope you will find this step-by-step guide helpful and useful.
1. Be Prepared
The words you choose, the tone of voice you use and how you present the facts can have a dramatic effect on whether your feedback will be received as positive or negative. This is why it is so important to be clear what you want to say and why you need to say it.
Manage your emotions, revise your words and look for any chance of miscommunication to ensure your points stays as productive as possible.
2. Make feedback motivational and developmental
To give productive feedback that your team will be happy to implement, your feedback needs to have two main aims, to be motivational and developmental.
1. Motivational: You want your team members to be motivated and inspired to make change after you have delivered your feedback
2. Developmental: Your feedback should be built on the foundation of what they have done well. Then and only then should you explore areas for personal change and growth
3. Give FAST Feedback
Your feedback should be consistent and methodical. When you give feedback it is important to think FAST.
- Frequent: Give feedback as a matter of routine, don’t wait until the next formal meeting
- Accurate: Your feedback should be based on facts, verifiable behaviour or what you have observed not assumptions, interpretations, generalisations or judgments
- Specific: Your feedback should be specific, based on an observable or verifiable behaviour, action, event or result.
- Timely: Feedback should be as close to the event as possible. In saying this keep in mind that there is a difference between timely and rushed feedback. If the feedback involves difficult issues, find an appropriate time and place. Make an appointment and have a meeting, don’t do it in the corridor.
4. Listen to verbals and non-verbals
Pay special attention to the words and body language you are presenting and the words and body language your team member is presenting. It can be easy to hide how you feel in words, but your body language is a lot harder to hide.
By watching their non-verbal signs you will be able to clarify any confusion, clear up misunderstandings and even diffuse potential conflict.
5. Differentiate between personality and behaviour
One of the biggest feedback mistakes I find leaders make is to target personality traits instead of individual behaviour. The difference is behaviour can be changed, where personality in most cases cannot.
How do you ensure you differentiate between the two? Opt for you ‘did’ not you ‘are’.
6. Ask for input
Once you have said your part, give your team member the opportunity to respond and explain. It is important that you actively listen through this process, they need to heard and supported.
You want to make sure the conversation stays productive and solution based so don’t be afraid to shift the conversation if needed. One subtle way of doing this is to pose a question.
7. Avoid giving advice
The purpose of feedback is to help your team member understand the issues better and identify actions they can take to improve the situation in the future.
When you give your team member advice, you don’t get the same learning, buy-in or accountability from them.
How can you change your feedback approach to ensure you motivate and inspire your team to change and grow?