Management 101: How To Give Constructive Feedback

Do you dread giving critical feedback? While it can certainly feel awkward to have this conversation with one of your employees, the ability to give constructive feedback is an important part of being a productive manager. Though it seems as if people often ignore suggestions and get offended by critiques, the fact is most people will welcome suggestions when they are given the right way. Your employees cannot get better at what they do unless you are willing to give them honest feedback that will help them improve. Here are some helpful tips for giving constructive feedback in a positive and effective way.

Choose Your Words Carefully
Do not attack the person by saying things like “You are not detail oriented,” or “You are always late for work.” Instead, try making helpful suggestions that will change their behavior. For example, saying “Your numbers will improve as you spend more time on details,” or “We can all be more productive if we begin our day on time.” These are subtle suggestions rather than personal attacks. You don’t want to single out the employee and make them feel blamed.

Be Specific
Don’t tap dance around the issue by making generalizations and hints. You cannot expect the person to figure out the point you are trying to make. Rather, be specific and use concrete examples to explain exactly what it is you are trying to convey.

Be Reasonable With Your Expectations
If you go into a meeting and ask the person to change multiple behaviors, you might as well forget it! You cannot expect someone to improve in every way right off the bat. Start with the points that need immediate attention first. There is a limit to how much feedback someone can handle at any given time so your expectations need to be reasonable.

Do Not Compare
The quickest way to offend a member of your team is to compare their performance with another person. What is acceptable, however, is to compare the person’s present behavior with past behavior.

Offer Guidance Through dialogue
Instead of approaching the person by saying “You must do this,” try reaching a solution through conversations. It is perfectly acceptable to offer guidance and suggestions, but allow them to come up with ideas as well. It should feel like a team effort rather than you dictating the outcome.

The ability to effectively provide constructive feedback will help managers to enhance the skills of their employees. Feedback is a critical part of any managerial position, and it is important to be able to express your ideas in a way that is positive and influential. Proper feedback can help employees to be successful and reach their goals.