Providing proper feedback is a vital component of leading a team. Some leaders may find that sharing feedback is difficult, especially when that feedback is addressing a performance issue or is negative in nature. Some people even have difficulties sharing positive feedback… Maybe it feels unnatural, or it is difficult to encourage someone who is generally underperforming. Most leaders wouldn’t argue the fact that there is value in giving feedback, but may not be sure of the best way to initiate the process. Here are some guidelines to follow when providing feedback:
- First, think about the desired outcome. Are you attempting to warn a team member of inappropriate behavior, or upcoming disciplinary action if performance doesn’t improve? Perhaps you are trying to improve communication among teams or encourage a new leader? In any situation where feedback is provided, it is important to consider the desired outcome so that you can guide the conversation in that direction.
- Communicate clearly. This is extremely important when sharing any information, but especially if it involves a team members job performance, whether positive or negative. There is nothing worse than walking away from a leader or superior feeling confused, or thinking that there is an alternative motivation for what was said… The more clear the message, the more likely it is that you will see the desired result.
- Provide feedback in writing. Often times, communication is easily forgotten if not written down. This is especially important when reviewing performance. Some personality types need time to process and think through feedback before they are able to respond verbally or with action.
- Use a proven system when issuing performance evaluations. It is important to be consistent when sharing feedback and the best way to do that is to use a proven system or template for sharing. A good example would be the “Start, Stop, Continue” method. When using this style of feedback, the leader is prepared in advance with several points communicating what the team member should start doing, stop doing, and continue doing to improve performance. The “continue” part of this kind of evaluation gives the leader the opportunity to encourage and reinforce any positive behaviors displayed by the team member.
How do you provide feedback within your organization?