At Illuminate Business Advisors, we help businesses hire the right fit, train effectively to build better teams, and increase team engagement. One of the ways that we do that is by helping them develop, improve, and implement a system for giving feedback. It is vital to the health of an organization for its leaders to timely address great effort and missed expectations. But how can you do this well?
Why Not Give Regular Feedback?
Generally, it is easier to give positive feedback, but we often see business owners not doing this on a regular basis. Many will say they do not have time, or they do not think to stop and recognize a job well done, or they assume their employees know their leaders see their efforts.
But we know that deliberate, positive feedback is valuable to team engagement and performance. According to Gallup’s research, when leaders give their employees positive feedback, the organization experiences higher employee engagement, improved employee productivity, lower turnover rate and greater profitability. Business owners cannot afford to skip this important tool.
With negative – or “constructive” – feedback, though, most of our clients tend to avoid an uncomfortable conversation that may turn into a confrontation or hurt feelings. But what happens over time when you fail to offer constructive feedback that would improve their behavior or performance in some way? How will this affect their work relationships and even their career? Failing to give constructive feedback will have a much bigger negative impact on that individual and on the team than if you just dealt with it initially.
You should give feedback – whether positive or negative – in a way that builds people up and helps them to do better. But how is this done? The following steps are key to giving better feedback.
Build a Healthy Working Relationship with Your Team
First, be deliberate about building a healthy relationship with your team. How do they prefer to receive recognition? How do they prefer to receive constructive feedback? Give them permission to give you feedback. All of this will build mutual trust between you and your team. You are all in this together.
Set the Right Expectations
Set clear expectations about how and when you want tasks done. You can do this through company-wide policies (i.e. responding to clients, timing lunch breaks, taking vacation time, etc.) or through individual tasks (i.e. task due dates).
Also, set the expectation up front with your team that you will give feedback regularly. You will recognize them when they are doing well, but you will also share constructive feedback.
Give Positive Feedback Regularly
The first step in communicating feedback to your team is to give positive feedback regularly. Let your team know you see their efforts. Affirm them when they’re doing well. Congratulate them on completing a project or solving a problem. If you are making positive feedback a regular part of your company’s culture, your team will be more receptive to hearing constructive feedback. No one only wants to hear from you when they have missed the mark.
Develop and Use a Performance Management Process
Feedback tends to get more difficult when you need to help an employee improve their job performance. This is where a performance management process can give you a consistent, effective system to deliver constructive feedback to your team. In our next blog post, we will do a deep-dive into creating a Performance Management Process to effectively deliver constructive feedback.
Effective feedback is not a personal attack or confrontation. It is an objective process that is rooted in setting up the individual for success. Business owners who adopt and follow a process to routinely provide positive and negative feedback will better engage their employees and improve overall productivity.
If you need help developing or improving your company’s system around giving feedback to your team, reach out to us at illuminateba.com or email us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.