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Winning Advice for Giving Constructive Feedback to Your Team

Giving feedback and coaching staff to perform better can be absolutely vital to your team’s morale and success rates.    

There is so much information about coaching vs. leading vs. managing, but what does it all mean when it comes to keeping employees happy and engaged? 

You need to work out a strategy for offering employees constructive feedback, as well as when you should be making time for feedback. 

The Importance of Feedback 

  • Officevibe found that about 43% of highly engaged employees receive feedback at least once a week compared to only 18% of employees with low engagement. (Source: Officevibe)
  • Gallup researchers have studied human behaviour for decades and discovered that building employees' strengths by giving them positive feedback is a far more effective approach than a fixation on weaknesses. (Source: Gallup)
  • Dr Marcial Losada conducted research into high-performing teams that revealed the ratio of positive and negative feedback was around 6 to 1. This means that the average employee ideally needs 6 positive pieces of feedback for every negative review received. (Source: The Losada Ratio - Happier Human)

How to Give Feedback

Be objective

Never let emotion creep into feedback. If it's your first time offering negative feedback to a team member, take time to think about what you want to say and what you want to achieve, as well as how you want the listener to act upon your feedback. Always take a step back from the situation and share your feelings with a trusted, impartial team member. 

Focus on behaviours

Never make it personal. If you’re too close to the person or the issue that needs to be addressed, we recommend getting somebody else to deliver feedback. Never let your judgement be clouded by personal feelings and friendships - it will make your feedback far less effective and may have wide-reaching impacts on other team members. 

Keep it balanced

Never overstate your feedback. Through nerves or frustration it can be all too easy to repeat yourself incessantly when it comes to giving feedback. It’s critical, with some personality types, to reiterate positive affirmations, because of a lack of self-belief, but for the most part, give your feedback and only give it once. 

Remain constructive 

Particularly for negative feedback, you should always bear in mind how to give the listener something to act upon.  Your feedback needs to be based on tangible reasons and offer actionable, proactive possibilities for resolving the issue or concern. Leave your listener with guidance for moving forward and improving their behaviour. 

Consider the environment

Not only should you consider how you say  your feedback, but you should also think about other elements of the delivery - including timing and setting. Who needs to be present and when is best to do it? Think about the individual's workload and the positive/negative impact on other areas your feedback might have. 

It’s a two-way street

Don’t make this a classic Shakespeare-esque monologue. 

Make it clear that the listener is welcome to share opinions and comments about the issue. Allow them the opportunity to balance your feedback with their own feedback about the issue. 

You should also be open to receiving feedback from team members and your company may find value in a feedback procedure that allows all team members to evaluate their own, and others' behaviour.

When to Give Feedback

You may have systems in place to provide positive reinforcement to employees, but a lot of organisations simply don’t get around to doing this because of other priorities. 

However, it is often valuable to create an employee recognition procedure. You should recognise employees whenever they: 

  • Meet or exceed goals
  • Go an extra mile
  • Help colleagues or customers
  • Overcome an obstacle
  • Take initiative
  • Need a confidence boost
  • Model good behaviour
  • Do something minor, but it is worth recognising

Of course, the kind of feedback you give should be relevant to the behaviour that is being recognised. Hopefully some of our recommendations, above, should help you to come up with ideas for an employee recognition procedure. 

Find more like this via Office Life. 

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