Do you dread addressing poor performance or giving feedback because you think the employee is going to react negatively?

Giving constructive feedback is a best practice management tool.

Feedback lets employees know where they are and where they need to go with their performance and development.

Here are my Top Tips to deliver feedback effectively, in a way that provides value to the employee, results in acceptance and successful outcomes and doesn’t have any unpleasant consequences:

  • To minimise defensiveness and maximise acceptance, simply be objective and focus on the situations, issues, and   behaviours, not on the person; that is don’t make it personal.
  • Stick to the facts and maintain a neutral tone.  Be aware that you both have opinions and emotions about the issue, situation, or behaviour you are discussing.
  • Have a constructive purpose for providing the feedback and state the outcomes you want to achieve (i.e. you want to build up future performance v break it down) – tie issues to business results so you can focus on issues or events, not on personality traits e.g. improved performance/efficiency, improved teamwork/relationships etc.
  • Describe specifically what you have observed and think about what specifically you want instead.  Do not provide performance feedback on hearsay only.
  • Describe the impact of these actions and offer specific suggestions.
  • Be sure of your facts and bring along as much supporting documentation as possible.
  • Listen to what the other person has to say and to what is not being said; you might learn something you didn’t know.
  • Consider the response you anticipate to each piece of feedback. Accepting beforehand that the employee may not agree with everything and that the meeting may not go perfectly will help you prepare for overcoming obstacles/objections to achieve a successful outcome.
  • Provide a mix of positive and re-directional feedback.  This may not be easy when you have an employee that is under-performing, but it is important to find and note some positives to provide fair and balanced feedback.

Being prepared before you meet the employee and giving them adequate notice of the meeting and what you want to discuss so they are not ambushed in the meeting will greatly enhance the chances of the conversation going well and achieving a successful outcome.


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