As leaders or managers, giving feedback is part of the job. Despite what some believe, feedback is not synonymous with criticism. In fact, the ability to provide constructive feedback that promotes positive change should be treated as a skill. The ability to evaluate the work of others and constructively engage with them on how best to move forward is a skill anybody can develop with the right training – and one that all managers should have in their repertoire.
Giving feedback is difficult. Some people find it uncomfortable to critique others. Or sometimes, we’re just not sure of the best approach. The consequences of poor or absent feedback can be serious. Poor feedback skills from managers can have an impact on the individual, team, and organisational level.
Part of giving feedback means commending successful or positive work. However, being a manager also means having to provide less positive feedback. We call this constructive feedback. The intention is to address performance issues and find solutions that mean everyone can move forward effectively.
Benefits of constructive feedback include:
Performance Development. Feedback is the best way to approach poor performance in an encouraging and productive way. Addressing the issue, whilst working alongside an employee to find a solution, improves their performance and the productivity of the team or business as a whole.
Growth Motivation. If you provide positive feedback and commend good work regularly, constructive criticism will feel less of an attack. Rather, inspiring the employee to improve and continue to grow their skills. They will likely also be more motivated to obtain skills that they need to remain successful in their field.
Employee Retention. Constructive feedback can create greater employee satisfaction. Feedback is ultimately an investment of time and energy into your employee’s performance, this in turn highlights that they are valued by the organisation and their success and skills are cared about. Employee satisfaction = greater employee retention.
Clarity & Confidence. Feedback clarifies expectations, for both managers and employees. Constructive conversations surrounding the work that is performed helps employees to have clarity on what is expected of them. This open channel of conversation is beneficial, and everyone becomes aware of where everyone stands. This creates a stable environment where everyone is clear, and subsequently employees feel more confident.
When delivered properly, constructive feedback can reinforce positive behaviour, correct any negative performance, and ensure a strong culture remains in your team.
The benefits are no secret, but where it becomes difficult, is that there is no one-size-fits-all method for giving constructive feedback. Thus, managers must treat giving feedback as a skill, so that it becomes something that they can adapt to different situations, environments, and people.
Ultimately, you have a duty as a leader to be honest with your employees, for their sake as much as the wider teams. This can sometimes mean difficult conversations need to happen, especially when feedback may be around employee attitude or work ethic. Equipped with the right skills, these conversations can be productive and stress-free on your part, and as minimally difficult for the employee.
So how can you ensure managers in your business are equipped with skills in providing feedback?
Trainer Bubble offers a comprehensive Giving Feedback E-Learning course designed to equip managers and leaders with the practical tools they need to provide constructive feedback that causes positive change. Learners will gain the self-awareness to grow as an individual and to help others improve their performance. Feedback is the way we improve as individuals, as teams and as companies. So, it’s important that we take the time to master these skills.