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8 tips to giving effective feedback

It’s very tempting to avoid giving honest feedback at work as it can be daunting and feel uncomfortable, but the results are well worth it!

Good quality feedback is essential for people to achieve their best. Without it, it’s hard for people to know how to grow and develop. When feedback is delivered well, it is empowering, motivating and engaging for an employee, all of which can only benefit your business performance!

Here’s some top tips to help you deliver effective feedback:

1. Preparation is key

Think about why you are giving the feedback and what you want to get out of it to ensure that the feedback is delivered in a balanced way. Also, choose your time well, ensuring you are in a confidential space and that you have enough time to have a full conversation.

2. Be specific and focus on facts

Provide examples of the behaviours or actions that you are addressing. Describe the behaviour you saw, not the reason that you assume might be behind the behaviour. This helps to keep the feedback constructive and helps the team member feel it is objective, not personal.

3. Define the impact

The team member could be completely unaware of the impact of their actions as it’s very rare that someone does something ‘wrong’ or behaves irrationally on purpose so be clear on what the repercussions or consequences were.

4. Choose your words carefully

Use ‘I’ rather than ‘you’. This helps to avoid a feeling of blame and your team member can focus on the feedback. Good examples to use are “I observed that…” or “I noticed that…”.

5. Have a two-way conversation

Invite the team member to give their thoughts on what happened, once you have delivered the feedback. They may not have realised what the impact of their behaviour was, there may be something specific that is impacting their behaviour, perhaps the team dynamics, or something in their personal life. Give them the space to tell you if they need support.

6. Be timely

Give the feedback as soon as possible after the behaviour or action has happened, within 24 hours or so, where possible. This will mean the feedback feels relevant and allows the person to ask questions and give their view as they will be able to recall it. Additionally, if it’s an ongoing or recurring issue, it’s likely to be much worse if it’s not nipped in the bud quickly.

7. Focus on the future

Whilst you may be giving feedback on something that has already happened, ensure the conversation focuses on what needs to be changed (or if it’s positive feedback, what does the team member need to do more of) for the future.

8. Positivity

Whilst the above tips have focussed more on delivering negative feedback don’t forget to give positive feedback from time to time. We often assume that the person knows they’re doing a good job but this isn't always the case and they don't realise. By making the time to explain their positive behaviours and actions, the team member will know what they need to do more of to improve even further and deliver high performance for your business.

Sometimes, despite delivering feedback well, you may not be seeing the performance levels you need from your team member. Ensure that you have documented any informal feedback you have given and if this is the case, you may need to start a more formal performance management procedure.

If you have an underperforming employee and you need some advice or want to find out more about how Freedom HR Consulting can support your business with managing performance please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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