As a leader once of the greatest gifts you can give your team member is honest feedback – and it doesn’t always have to be positive. Feedback is a form of respect and appreciation – it shows that you are paying attention to what your people are doing and that you care enough to point them in the right direction.
One thing is certain: meaningful feedback increases employee engagement and performance. In fact, according to a Gallup report, employees would prefer to receive negative feedback than no feedback at all. An employee who is ignored by a manager is twice as likely to be actively disengaged at work as an employee whose manager focuses on his or her weaknesses, according to the report.
When you can help someone understand the impact of their actions (whether good or bad), you give them the gift of perspective, and help them to understand how they can add value to the business as well as their own career.
It’s important to be clear and to the point with your feedback, whatever it is. When you get the structure right, the feedback is much more likely to be understood and actioned. Choose one issue at a time! Focusing on too many skills or behaviours at once is confusing and overwhelming, and can feel like an all-out attack.
Feedback should inspire the other person to improve, not make them wallow in where they went wrong. But don’t avoid real problems, either. If there’s an issue, don’t be afraid to state it. Following a simple structure can help you frame your feedback so that it’s taken on board and actioned effectively.
One of my favourite models for giving feedback is AID: