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Monique Rivers

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How to provide feedback that will develop your employees


Feedback doesn't have to be just a box-ticking exercise. Monique Rivers tells us how to turn it into a constructive experience.

Let's make one thing clear – there's no improvement without feedback. If you spot an employee going about their work in a wrong way or making the same mistakes over and over again, it's in your best interest to do something about it and deliver a meaningful feedback. Even if you do it occasionally and then rely on an annual review, there are still many days where you're leaving your employees on their own. Here are some strategies to help you provide valuable feedback at all times and stimulate your employees to grow.

Leverage their strengths and stop focusing on weaknesses

If you thought feedback is just about suggesting improvements, you're wrong. Sure, your goal is to help your employees to improve their skills, but focusing only on their weaknesses won't send a heart-warming message.

The best strategy here is to find something this person is really good at and see if this skill can be applied to the area of work that causes problems. Doing this, you'll help your employees to use their strengths across various areas and contribute their skills to reach the goals of the organisation.

Build a relationship based on trust

Trust is an essential component of managers' daily relationship with their employees. Effective feedback cannot be delivered where there's no trust. Make sure to repeatedly show through your words and actions that what you have in mind is the professional development of your employees.

Concentrate on the 'what'

When delivering your feedback, avoid looking for someone to blame or making judgments. Instead, focus on behaviours and words – things that you have observed directly. Always focus on the behaviour in question, not on the person. Describe in detail what you've seen and point to how it affects the atmosphere at the workplace, the team or clients.

Time, precision and honesty

Deliver your feedback as soon as possible after you make your observation. Speaking about an interaction just right after it occurred will help your employee to easily refer to their behaviour and analyse it from a new perspective offered in your feedback.

Avoid generalisations and be specific – saying 'You did a great job' is not enough. What you need to do is give insight into the behaviour that you'd like to be repeated or changed. State your opinion clearly and honestly. Make sure to avoid tones that can lead to serious misunderstandings – sarcasm, frustration and disappointment are off limits.

Listen and allow a response

The whole point of your feedback is to provide valuable insight to help your employee improve or maintain their performance. Take your time to listen and see how they react to your observations – this will help you to adjust your approach and give a boost of motivation to your employees.

After providing your feedback, allow them to take some time to digest and implement your suggestions. They will feel slightly vulnerable after your feedback, so encourage them to seek you out in case they had a question or would like to hear your opinion on something. Keep this door open and you'll profit from each and every feedback session.

Organise coaching meetings to solve specific problems

When it comes to solving specific issues at your organisation, nothing works better than a targeted coaching session. When opening the meeting, remember to state its reason in a non-accusatory way, making sure everyone understands the problem. Your mission here is to persuade your employees to agree with you that the problem exists and requires improvement. Clarify your expectations, give specific examples of the issue and openly ask your employees to agree with you.

Delivering your feedback in this way, you can be sure to create a positive atmosphere at your workplace that will actively stimulate the growth of your employees.

Monique Rivers is an Australian tech blogger who also loves good food and fashion. She works at Ninefold is a company providing efficient and powerful virtual servers for all those occasions when a business needs to move their ideas into the cloud.


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