Join Todd Dewett for an in-depth discussion in this video Making feedback work, part of New Manager Fundamentals.
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Among the many types of communication one might have at work, few are as important as giving performance related feedback to others. Some professionals will refrain from giving feedback they feel would be useful in order to avoid conflict. Other times, they will correctly choose to deliver a feedback, but their delivery isn't good. As a result, they unintentionally damage relationships. Good news, it doesn't have to be that way. The basics of delivering great feedback are well known. If you pay attention to the following approaches, you will dramatically increase the odds that your feedback actually helps others.
First, good feedback is very specific, not general or vague. Never tell someone they can do better without specifying or quantifying exactly how they could perform better. Similarly, if providing critical feedback, don't simply say the work does not meet your expectations, but instead, clarify in very concrete terms the particular ways the work did not meet expectations. For instance, instead of saying: you can perform better or I expect more, you could say: I think sales could be 10% higher over the next three quarters in both of your territories.
That's a good example of specificity. Next, good feedback is always delivered positively. You will often need to deliver critical or difficult feedback, but even that type of feedback can be delivered in a positive light. It all depends on how you frame your comments. For example, you can tell someone they failed to meet the production standard by 30%, that's a negative frame. Or, you can tell them you wish to help them seize the opportunity to reach the standard during the next performance period. That's a more useful positive frame.
It's also important you give people the right amount of feedback, because everyone is different and has a different ability to successfully digest feedback, I want you to use this rule: Only give someone as much feedback as you feel they can honestly take; give too little, you're not being aggressive enough; give too much, you inadvertently risk offending the person. Based on what you know about them, strive to provide what they need without exceeding what they can take. Finally, great feedback is two-way; not one-way. It is very important for you to deliver performance feedback you wish to deliver.
It is equally true that people often listen and care about feedback to the extent they felt part of a conversation, as opposed to merely receiving comments from you. Creating an active dialogue is always the best choice. After you've thought about the content of the feedback you wish to deliver, consider the conditions under which your delivery will be most successful. First, remember that great feedback is delivered in person when possible. The more important or difficult the feedback, the more you should show respect by delivering face-to-face.
Great feedback should also be delivered as quickly as possible, so that it's relevant. The more time that elapses since the incident, the more fuzzy it becomes in the person's mind, so deliver feedback as soon as possible. Further, be sure to own any feedback you provide with liberal use of I statements. Such as, I rated you with three because, make sure they know these are your decisions. If you don't take ownership for your decisions, you come across as weak. It's also important to find an appropriate place to deliver feedback. Though it is acceptable to praise people publicly, always deliver difficult comments in private, and consider using their office or a neutral location, such as a conference room, as opposed to your office.
By choosing a neutral location, you'll find that people are more able to hear you clearly. Providing performance feedback is a huge part of being a leader, but it can be more difficult than it seems. Use these guidelines we've discussed here to ensure that your feedback leads to positive change.
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- Clarifying performance expectations
- Feeding your learning curve
- Building rapport with your team
- Explaining your decision-making style
- Increasing your authenticity
- Communicating proactively
- Knowing when to have a meeting and who should attend
- Coping successfully with your transition<br><br>
- The PMI Registered Education Provider logo is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.