Improving the quality of your feedback is a positive step toward further developing your team. Here are six simple feedback guidelines that will help:
1. Describe the situation not the person. Look at the individual’s actions or behaviour in the area under review, not them as an individual. People can sometimes get defensive when they feel that feedback is personal. For example, telling someone they are ‘disorganised’ is far more inflammatory and unconstructive than describing how deadlines are routinely missed.
2. Describe the effect. Help the individual see the effect or impact their actions are having on the situation.
3. Reinforce the positive; explore alternatives. Invite and suggest ways in which the individual could improve or do things more effectively. Make him or her aware of the desired outcome.
4. Be specific. Know what’s expected and be clear about what you are looking for. Give examples. Saying something was ‘great’ is not enough; what made it ‘great’? Remember, you want high-value activities to be repeated and those with less positive impact to be eliminated.
5. Seek, as well as give information. Ask questions. Explore options. Encourage self discovery in the individual, for them to come up with alternatives to improve their own performance.
6. Restate the goal. Sometimes the simplest way of helping an individual identify what can be improved is to remind him/her of the objective, or desired outcome. Review the steps, agree on an action plan and arrange for follow-up feedback sessions.
Next month, continuing our quest to ‘advance individual accountability’, we’ll explore facilitating self discovery and how to help your people find their own solutions.