“I just love it so much when my boss gives me no indication of whether I’m performing or not, and then let’s me crash and burn into oblivion due to my failure to meet expectations,” said no one, ever.

Nobody has ever said this, because firstly, crashing and burning into oblivion sounds pretty painful, and secondly, because most actually love receiving feedback. If this is the case then, why do so many people shy away from giving it? The answer to this, is because they are terrified of telling the truth, uncomfortable with the awkward situation that may ensue, and concerned that their words will upset and offend. My advice to you, is simply to suck it up. Whether you are a manager or employee, part of your role is to care enough to assist the others in your team to improve.  Here are some quick tips to help you along the way:

  • Constructive vs. destructive – The aim of feedback is to provide an avenue for correction. Think about your content and your language and phrase your sentences to reinforce the person’s strengths rather than point out their weaknesses. Be specific, not vague.
  • Be honest – Don’t get excited, this does not give you free reign to give your opinion in all its brutal glory. Despite what the truth may be, informing your colleague that her dress resembles your grandmother’s curtains is probably unlikely to end well. Actually, you need to be clear, direct and say exactly what you mean.
  • Do it in real time –  Keeping a little black book of horrors, filled with incidences where people have not met your expectations is not the greatest approach.  Ensure you provide consistent feedback on a regular basis.
  • Opportunity to respond – You’ve delivered an amazing piece of useful feedback. Job done, right? Wrong! It is important to allow the person an opportunity to respond so they can ask questions and discuss any concerns they may have.
Weirdly enough people cannot read your mind and magically comprehend the feedback that you would desperately love to give (if only you had the courage to do so!). It would be wonderful to have that level of self-awareness, however sadly few of us do.  This is why giving feedback is such an integral part of being a manager; without you, your team members have a significantly lower chance of development and progression.  So do yourself a favour and perfect the art of giving feedback – you will reap the rewards of a satisfied, engaged and highly-performing team.
By Kristy Arcodia