Feedback is an essential part of growth for every member of the team, from lower-level employees to high-level managers. Feedback is important because it motivates people to keep going, lets them know if they should change something, and lets them know that their work is appreciated. Feedback should be constructed very carefully though, because if not, it can sometimes come off as abrasive or attacking. When giving feedback, you should make sure your ideas are prioritized and only regarding the most important issues. Below we will take a look at some of the best methods of giving effective feedback, as featured in an article on the University of Waterloo.
Focus on the behavior instead of the person.
The best strategy is to open the conversation by first stating the behavior in question. After this is done, then you can adequately describe how you feel about the situation. You want to close out the conversation with how you would like the person to deal with the situation and what you would want from them. By following these steps, you avoid coming off in an accusatory manner. Try not to use “I’ statements, and stay away from making the person feel like this specific situation is a reflection of their character.
Be specific and realistic.
Using general comments in feedback is not very beneficial to the person on the receiving end. It is a better idea to use specific examples that help the person to visualize your statement. Additionally, if you are giving them recommendations on how to improve, offer alternatives instead of straightforward advice that might make them feel pressured. You should also focus your feedback on what is able to be changed and not centered around a fantasyland. Avoid coming down on someone for things that are out of their control and avoid using terms such as “never” and “always.”
Continue offering your support.
Feedback should never be a one-stop-shop. Following up with someone you provided feedback to helps to keep them motivated and shows them that you actually care about their growth instead of just being the boss. Try to remain available for questions and continue to give feedback in the future, even if it is just to let someone know that you recognize and appreciate their improvement.