It's A Two-Way Street: Giving Effective Employee Feedback
Feedback has the power to influence our emotional state- the impact can be either positive or negative, depending on a variety of factors. Of course, any feedback being given, regardless of gender, race, nationality and culture should be factual, objective, timely, based on one’s performance, and, of course, non-confrontational.
In this article, I want to share the two types of feedback that l believe can encourage the right performance, and keep employees motivated- these are called “supportive feedback,” and “corrective feedback.”
Supportive feedback is given when someone is “on the right track” and is meeting your expectations. You tell them what they are doing well in detail, and encourage them to continue. Be specific with the feedback, and make sure it is on the performance, and not the personality.
Corrective feedback is when a person’s behavior or performance needs to be corrected to bring them “back on track.” Timing is important here, because the other person needs to know what it is that needs to be corrected, as early as possible.
I recently had a client who asked me how she should give feedback to one of her male colleagues about a report they had submitted containing numerous grammatical mistakes. She wanted to be constructive, firm and fair, making sure the feedback was positive, so that her colleague would not make the same mistakes again.
I asked her then how she would start the feedback session. She explained that because she was giving feedback to a male colleague, who can become defensive when receiving feedback from a female colleague, she thought that being direct, with examples of the mistakes, and then making sure that it must never happen again would be the best way forward.
I have known many people who go with this approach, thinking that feedback is a “one-way” street. However, the truth is that it is not. When you have to give feedback, one of the first steps is to ask that person how they felt their performance was.
This encourages self-reflection. If they respond by stating that they felt it was brilliant, break up the performance into smaller sections, asking for their feedback until you get to that stage where the performance needs to be corrected. Asking the right questions will help you to get there quicker.
I explained to my client that in order to get to the exact required behavior or performance, a person needs to go through a number of little changes in behavior to reach the desired outcome. If we wait for a person to get to this state in one go, then we may be waiting a long time.