Think back to your high school or student days. Do you remember how you felt when the teacher praised you? And when he asked you to stay after class and spoke to you one on one. He did not scold you, but explained to you your mistakes. Thanks to this approach you became even more productive. All of this is called feedback, and it is one of the best non-material ways of motivation. So, if you are still not using it as a manager or project leader, then start doing so as soon as possible! But first, read this article to the end — we will tell you everything you need to know about giving quality feedback in order to get the maximum benefit from this process, for both yourself and your employee.
Types of Feedback
Before giving any feedback, you need to decide what type it will be. There are several types:
- Zero. Yes, the absence of any feedback is also a form of feedback. In this case, a person continues to do what they do automatically. Since this person is in an information vacuum which will cause their efficiency to inevitably begin to decline sooner or later. Ultimately, this can lead to professional burnout or simply dismissal due to loss of interest in their work.
- Positive. According to a Gallup survey, 67% of employees who were regularly praised by their employer were 31% more involved in the work process than other employees. Praise, however, in this vein is not just “Well done”, but a detailed analysis of the process in which a person has shown himself well. If the employer notes any positive qualities or actions of the employee, they will begin to hone them in order to get even more positive feedback. However, this alone is not enough — if you use positive feedback too often, the employee's motivation begins to fall. Is this a paradox? What can be done about this? Such is human psychology!
- Negative. Simply put, this is criticism, and it is also necessary in any workflow. For example, an employee has already gone over the established budget three times, but no one raised this issue with him. Which is why they will continue to do so if they don't receive negative feedback. But, of course, there should not be too much negative feedback — in excess it destroys motivation even faster than positive feedback.
- Developing. This is perhaps the best way to provide feedback. It implies both recognition of merit and the need to work on some mistakes. A Harvard Business Review study says that 57% of professionals would like to receive this type of feedback, rather than just positive feedback.
A competent leader knows when and what kind of feedback to give, effectively combining these types and selecting the right type depending on the employee. The course “The Ideal leader: Create a strategy for team development” will help you become such a leader. You will not only master the art of giving feedback, but also learn how to resolve conflicts within a team, lead productive meetings, select the best employees, and how to be a leader.
Five Golden Rules for Feedback
Rule number 1. When giving feedback, discuss a specific event.
In order for feedback to be of high quality, it should not be generalized. Otherwise there are no arguments given for specific changes in the behavior of the employee, and therefore evidence of their necessity. Also, it is easiest for a person to understand how to and how not to do something using illustrative examples, best of all from their own experience. In addition, the more time that has passed since the event being discussed, the lower the quality of communication. Therefore, it is best to discuss each event right before or after it has happened. Be timely.
For example, “There was a deadline yesterday and you still haven't finished the project. Let's talk about it?" instead of “You missed the last deadline, do you remember?”.
Rule number 2. Discuss a specific action, not a person.
We are all sensitive to varying degrees. And sometimes a few casual words are enough to offend someone. In this case, there is a risk that the employee's confidence, as well as motivation, will fall. In the worst case, he will begin to defend himself or go on the offensive. Therefore, feedback should not include a personal assessment of the qualities of an employee or a situation — only the dry facts, figures, consequences, documents should be used.
For example, “You were given one week to complete the last task, but it took you two weeks. This caused the company to lose money and the other departments didn't get the information they needed in time” instead of “You have been in this position for two years, and you still can't cope with such a simple task!”.
Rule number 3. Give feedback only in person.
You can praise in public, but never scold in public — never in any case! Even if it’s not really “scolding”, just list the mistakes and help them do better. If an employee gets used to always being nervous in your presence, this can negatively affect his productivity. In addition, public feedback can undermine the credibility and trust of the employee in the team. It is not worth giving feedback through third parties for exactly the same reasons.
Rule number 4. Consider the opinion of the employee.
Two-way feedback is obviously more effective than one-way feedback. Be sure to listen to the employee's thoughts and feelings, their point of view and point of view of the situation. Perhaps you are missing something? Feedback will also help you fine-tune your feedback strategy and see the full picture of what's going on in the team. Also, take into account the personal needs and reasons of the employee. Perhaps they did not achieve the best results because they simply felt bad. Feedback should be given not just for show, but when it's really needed. So don't overdo it.
Rule number 5. Look for solutions together with the employee.
A good leader is first and foremost a team leader. When you tell an employee that they need to change their working approach or behavior, then you should also suggest what changes you mean exactly. Direct the employee to the solution that you want to see, otherwise they will simply be confused.
For example, “Let's try this CRM. When I first mastered the profession, it literally saved me in many cases” instead of saying “Automate your work”.
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There are many feedback models. You can also develop your own model, but it's worth trying one of these three most popular models that have been proven to work by executives around the world:
It is also jokingly called a “sandwich”. This is the main model for developmental feedback, which, like its abbreviation, consists of:
Positive. Begin feedback with positive comments and appreciation of any actions of the employee. In short, praise them.
Improve (growth zones). Discuss what can be improved upon, and together with the employee, form a step-by-step plan to achieve certain goals.
Positive. Return to praise. Tell the employee that you are confident in their success, and that he can always count on your help.
In general, this is a technique for achieving goals that coaches often teach professionals who want to become more productive and build a brilliant career. However, it can also be used for employee development. These questions will help you analyze the situation, identify the strengths and weaknesses of the employee, and understand how they can be improved:
Goal. What goals were set?
Reality. Have you been able to achieve them? How would you rate the solution you chose on a scale of 1 to 10?
Options. Consider alternatives. What could be done to make your results even better? How would an experienced professional solve the same problem?
Will (Plan). What could be done next time to achieve better results? What steps can you take, and which ones should be abandoned altogether?
This model is best for managing a team, especially when that team is performing well and you would love to keep it at that level or even improve it. It can even be used publicly, that is, at meetings, which is rare for feedback. This is all thanks to the fact that it is built on the following components:
Successes. Discuss the successes of the team as a whole and ask them to share how they were achieved.
Lessons learned. Interview each member of the team about what they learned in the course of solving their problem, what lessons they learned, what they learned, or what problems they encountered.
Changes. Discuss possible changes that could be implemented at the team level that would help the team work even more smoothly and efficiently. The main thing is that these changes do not contradict the previous ones and do not make it worse! Therefore, be sure to clarify what the team itself thinks about them.
Also, remember the importance of correct wording. Try to use sentences with a positive color such has, “I think it would be more effective”, rather than a negative color such as, “Try not to do this in the future”. Feedback is a skill. When you master it you will significantly improve your leadership skills and be able to provide your employees with an additional source of development, engagement, and motivation.