Here’s a simple truth about human nature: We all like to be praised when we do something well. Very few of us enjoy being criticized when we do something poorly.
But both kinds of feedback can ultimately be valuable: We need the affirmation just as surely as we need the correction.
And, as a leader, part of your job is delivering feedback as needed. That means offering both kinds of feedback to your employees—and frankly, it can sometimes be hard to know what to say and how to say it.
Let me offer my advice—some basic tips for transformational leaders looking to deliver employee feedback as effectively as possible.
Tips for Delivering Effective Employee Feedback
Encourage your team members to ask for feedback. When someone actually requests feedback, it’s a lot less threatening… and thus, they’re much more likely to really listen and absorb it. Lead by example, actively seeking out feedback on your own performance; and, make it clear to your employees that you’re happy to have a low-key conversation about their performance any time they like.
Focus on growth. When your feedback is all about results, it can make your team members feel pressured. You can defray this by encouraging them to think in terms of learning, growth, and personal development. Don’t make your feedback about the bottom line; make it about effort.
Take a Socratic approach. Socrates was famous for teaching by asking questions—guiding his pupils to discovering insights on their own. You can take a similar approach when you give employee feedback, asking team members to reflect on their own performance and come up with some of their own insights.
Think about your audience. When you’re praising an employee, it can often be best to do so publicly—unless you know the employee to be shy, or to eschew public shows of affirmation. Meanwhile, when you criticize, it’s almost never wise to do it in front of an audience; better to take those opportunities one-on-one.
Those are some of my guidelines for effectively coaching and critiquing employees. If you’d like to hear more about how transformational leaders deliver feedback, I’d love to tell you! Reach out today and let’s chat together. You can contact me at www.rickgoodman.com or call 888-267-6098.
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