Giving feedback is an essential part of the performance management responsibilities of people managers. People want and need to know how they are performing; and not just about what they need to do to improve but also about what they are doing well.
Many managers find the most difficult part of giving feedback is addressing issues of under-performance. They are often anxious about the reaction they will get from their colleague and whether it will damage the working relationship they have with them. Their concern is sometimes the result of having been on the receiving end of such criticism that was not delivered constructively and they remember how de-motivating that was.
So here are some tips for ensuring such feedback is delivered constructively and will lead to improved performance.
1. Make it Regular and Timely
Feedback needs to be a regular part of your discussions with your team members and not something that is stored up for the annual appraisal. The feedback also needs to be delivered as soon as possible after the under-performance issue has been identified. The longer it is left, the more difficulty your colleague will have in remembering what they did and why they did it.
2. A Question of Balance
Make sure that performance successes are recognised and not just issues of under-performance. Positive feedback can be a key motivator for some of your colleagues, so let them know you have appreciated their good work. Don't let the only time they get feedback be when they need to improve something. .
3. Be Specific
Any feedback given needs to be as specific as possible so that people can be clear about what aspect of their performance needs to change. Vague, general comments about somebody's performance don't allow them to understand what they have done well or what needs to improve. Give people examples of the performance or behaviour you are criticising; they will then be clearer about what needs to improve or what they should continue doing.
4. Self appraisal
Asking colleagues for their assessment of how they think they have performed can be a really useful way of opening up issues of under- performance. People are much more likely to accept your feedback if they themselves have identified an area for improvement.
5. Follow up and support
Having delivered the feedback, you need to monitor and review their future performance so any subsequent improvements can be recognised and acknowledged. This will encourage them to maintain their improved performance and maybe achieve even more. If their performance does not improve or their behavior does not change, further feedback discussions will be required to ensure they understand what needs to change and why.
Need to improve your feedback skills?
Mercia can help managers develop their management and leadership skills. Courses can also be tailored to your needs and be delivered in-house. For further information you can contact John Sharkey via e-mail or ring 0116 2581200.