Giving Feedback...the right way!
Working in an environment with other people is something that most of us do on a daily basis. However, do we ever give any thought about how what we do or say impacts on those people?
Not everything we do can be perfect, we are only human after all and in reality, everyone has their flaws and little imperfections, that’s what makes us human. They key is whether we know what those imperfections are and make an effort to improve them.
One valuable way to help you improve, is to get feedback from others. Getting feedback can be quite scary but also empowering. It provides an opportunity to recognise your strengths and also address areas of challenge.
At one time or another we have probably all had managers who haven’t provided us with feedback. How did that make you feel?
Some managers can be excellent at providing feedback and this can have a huge impact on an employees’ morale and motivation at work.
Some of you may have also had managers that did provide feedback, but not in the appropriate way. Providing feedback is a skill in itself and one that managers should learn from day one. Done incorrectly, this can be a big de-motivator and can have a negative impact on how engaged employees are with their organisation and the work they do.
‘Constructive criticism’ is a word banded around quite a lot but does anyone actually know what it means? The key to being constructive is to ensure that feedback focuses on supporting the seeking of solutions, looks forward and is objective. When it becomes just criticism it focuses more on apportioning blame and looking at the past.
Giving feedback can have a really powerful impact on us, this is illustrated well through Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.
Level 4 of this model focuses on Esteem (self-esteem and the respect of others). Some people have a bigger need for feedback than others but regardless of where you are on that scale, receiving feedback (in the right way) will impact our self-esteem and motivation at work.
It is important for managers to understand their employees and how they like to receive feedback, in relation to structure and frequency. Everyone is different and no ‘one size’ will fit all.
So, some key tips for giving effective feedback are…
1. Consider what it is you are feeding back on and the most appropriate way to provide it. This could be a simple ‘thank you’ or something more formal. This will be dependent on what it is and how the individual likes to receive feedback. For some people, a simple thank you is more than enough.
2. If the feedback you are providing is for the whole team, provide it in a team setting rather than at individual level. This will further enhance the ‘team spirit’. Celebrating success as a whole team can be very empowering and further enhances employee engagement as well as team building/bonding.
3. Consider your surroundings when providing feedback. Some people may prefer to receive feedback in confidence so ensure you use the appropriate method (i.e. don’t give feedback in public to someone who is quite shy)
4. Be sure not to only recognise the most visible/audible people in the team. It is easy to know when someone has achieved something worth providing feedback on if they are a more visible member of the team. Don’t forget to make time to provide feedback to all employees, including those who may not be as visible. It is important for everyone to know how they are performing, how they are contributing to the successes of the team and to understand when they need to make improvements.
5. Other ways of providing feedback would be to utilise any reward or recognition options/schemes you have in place. This may be by providing a one-off bonus payment, a ‘free’ day of holiday, a bunch of flowers, a thank you card or a team meal out.
If you are interested in discussing either feedback skills training or reward and recognition schemes, please get in touch via our contact form on the website or via email on firstname.lastname@example.org