Employees really do want feedback. If they are doing something right they like to be recognized for it. If they are doing something wrong they are looking for constructive feedback. It is sometimes difficult to know just how to let someone know they need to improve their performance. What is the best way to provide constructive criticism to your employees?  Here are some of the best ways to offer this feedback to your team.

  1. Feedback, not criticism. “Criticism” has negative connotations but feedback sounds much more positive. Feedback is intended to be a two way street where both parties are involved in the conversation. Your employees will be more comfortable engaging with you if the information is packaged as feedback.
  2. Don’t save it all for the review. Feedback and criticism is much more impactful if it is offered over time than saved for the year-end review. Imagine explaining to your employee how they could have handled a situation better back in March during your meeting in December? They are going to wonder why you wouldn’t have mentioned this earlier. Regular feedback should be about personal improvement while year-end reviews should focus more about the successes and potential raises.
  3. There is no right moment. If you, as a manager, stew on negative situations waiting for exactly the right time to talk to the employee you will find yourself becoming more and more frustrated by the behavior. Let people know when they need to make improvements but always balance it with honest positive feedback as well.
  4. Listen and Learn. Remember, feedback should be a two way street. When you talk to your employee about things that they can improve you may think you know why it happened in the first place but you might not know all the factors. Listen to what they have to say and, most importantly, acknowledge them.
  5. It’s the behavior not the person. The number one most important thing you can know about providing positive, rather than negative, feedback is to never criticize the individual. When you make the feedback personal the individual doesn’t hear what you have to say they just hear that you think they failed as a person. Instead of confronting someone about the issue, ask them what is going on and how you can help them.

Are you looking for best management practices to improve your employees’ performances? Contact Harvard Resources to see how we can help you.

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