Providing employees with feedback is one of the many tasks a leader is faced with every day. Often it can seem incredibly overwhelming to the point where it is pushed to the back-burner or all together avoided.
Here are a two simple tips from a recent article in in the Harvard Business Review about providing feedback to employees that helps change behavior.
Focus on positive outcomes.
Providing feedback that actually helps improve is more than just telling people when they have done something wrong. What you focus on grows. Focus as much of your feedback as possible on what the employee is doing well. This can be difficult and counterintuitive, as we may not remember to tell people when they are doing good things. But the other challenge is that employees won’t know what they are doing well unless you tell them. Be as specific as possible about the performance or behaviors you hope to see continue. That isn’t to say that you shouldn’t address issues as they arise, but when you have already laid the groundwork of focusing on positive behaviors, this becomes a lot easier.
Reframe the feedback by describing your experience.
When providing constructive feedback, use language that describes your experience, rather than language that blames the employee. For example, “my impression was … “ This allows the employee opportunities to see things from your perspective. It also removes blame or judgement from the conversation.
Providing feedback can be stressful for leaders and employees alike. Following these two simple pieces of advice can make the process easier and more productive for everyone.