Do your employees feel like they’re working in a vacuum, with little indication of how they are performing (good or bad)? Does the only real feedback they get come in a stilted annual performance review? Don’t let that be the case on your team.
Here are three ways to ensure that you’re giving continuous, useful feedback that helps employees grow and thrive.
- Give it in the moment. When you see an opportunity for feedback, jump in and give it right then. The impact will be greater if your observation comes to the employee soon after their action. When an employee gets real-time feedback, they’re able to learn in the moment — they either feel the gratification of the praise or know what to do differently next time.
- Focus on the future. One pitfall of feedback — especially when you’re working with an employee who is struggling — is that it feels like you’re just telling them what they did wrong. Next time you give corrective feedback, frame it not as what went wrong in the past but as what they can do differently in the future. This is what some call “feedforward.”
- Have the courage to correct. Many managers tend to give mainly positive feedback, fearing they will disengage the employee by criticizing their work. To the contrary: research has found that most employees actually prefer corrective feedback and feel it helps them do their job better. It’s uncomfortable to give negative feedback, but it’s a necessary counterpart to praise. Staying transparent and authentic goes a long way.
Everybody, from recent grad to grizzled CEO, needs a little feedback now and again. Make sure the feedback you give is current, future-focused, and candid. Your employees will thank you!