Giving feedback to a subordinate can be challenging, especially when you have something critical to say. There is always a chance of someone taking it too personally or a wrong interpretation that damages team morale. Building active feedback into your everyday schedule is a great way to develop a healthy rapport and a more comfortable work environment.
Here are a few takeaways to successful power-gradient feedback;
Don’t wait for that quarterly review to address a range of issues that could easily be avoided if brought to light earlier. For employees, the best feedback is the feedback that is given in-the-moment. This ensures that they have an opportunity to act on what they learn. With more honest and actionable feedback being exchanged on a more regular basis, employees will be able to build a sense of trust amidst the workplace. They will be able to effectively take and implement the acquired feedback instantly to the task at hand. Continuous reviews and performance monitoring besides yearly appraisals will help produce optimal outcomes. Timely feedback can prevent employees from developing misconceptions. It also benefits the company by curtailing unwanted errors and preventing their occurrence.
Key Takeaway: Nip the issue in the bud
Learn to control your emotions! When emotions are in play, thoughtfulness and professionalism can undoubtedly go out the window. This in turn can trigger a ‘flight or fight’ response. Emotional reactions create room for emotional responses. Thus, emotional self-regulation is the need of the hour. However, one can only achieve this through practice. Just like going to the gym, it will take time and effort to see results. But, in due course you will be able to gain complete control over what you say in heated arguments, be it on a personal or a professional front. It will not only help in delivering concise feedback to individual subordinates at the workplace, but also aid them in having a better understanding of a given scenario from your perspective.
By self-regulation, you will be able to recognise, own and shape your emotions which reduce the susceptibility to impulsive decisions and rash feedback.
Key Takeaway: Think and analyse before you act.
You might have seen innumerable interactions derail out of control simply because of a few poorly chosen words or by the tone of a person’s voice. On the other side, you might have also seen encounters go astonishingly well when the person giving the feedback has just the perfect approach. Well, constructive criticism is an art that can be learned by keeping a few points in mind;
- Always keep your language positive.
- Be actively conscious of your tone.
- Focus only on the situation at hand and not the person.
- Use ‘The Feedback Sandwich’ approach: Focus on the strength of the subordinate in question, followed by the areas that require improvement and conclude with how you trust them to deliver.
- Give positive examples on well-known personalities that can serve as an inspiration. ∙
- Encourage an open ended conversation and offer a potential solution to create room for improvement.
Key takeaway: Accept Criticism as graciously as you would compliments.
Listening skills have a major impact on feedback discussions. It is the most valuable and the most neglected skill. Active listening helps us to understand what the employee is saying as well as perceive their point of view. It also gives us a gist whether they have clearly understood the situation at hand. By becoming a better listener, you can improve your ability to influence, persuade and negotiate. You will also be able to avoid misunderstandings and conflict with your subordinates. All of these are necessary for workplace success. For managers looking to coach their employees, the ability to listen intently is critical. On the other hand, when employees feel they are not being heard, they feel discounted.
Key Takeaway: Listening adds value to a feedback discussion.
The most important step after giving ‘feedback’ is to ‘follow up’ with the given employee with regard to the progress they have made. Allow employees to use the feedback they received and check the progress they have made by setting attainable goals. When improvement is noticed, offering timely praise and reinforcement goes a long way in making people realise they are on the right path. A regular follow up gives employees a chance to be heard and engage effectively. This consistency is what will put you ahead in the game.
Key Takeaway: The fortune is in the follow up.
Offering guidance and support along with constructive criticism is a more wholesome approach to feedback at the workplace. In the end, feedback should inspire the other person to improve and not only dwell on the negative aspects in a given situation. Meaningful, productive feedback to subordinate employees sticks with them and reinforces positive behaviour as well as improves the performance of a team as a whole.
Are you giving feedback the right way?