No one escapes receiving feedback today–not the teacher, hospital administrator, attorney, elected official, consultant, or you: the businesswoman. Your internal and external customers demand accountability from you and anyone else with whom they spend time or money. Everyone is a consumer who expects a degree of satisfaction whenever they interact with you. You expect no less when you are the service or product consumer.
Conversely, each of us needs feedback to feel appreciated–and to correct whatever subtleties stand in the way of receiving that appreciation. Honest feedback is a reward valued by even the highest paid individual.
The best feedback is mutual, even if the timing is not concurrent. Strong work relationships and trust are built when feedback can be given, discussed, and taken to heart on the part of both people. Whether you are a manager, team member, or sales rep giving feedback to and receiving feedback from employees, peers, or customers, the ideal outcome of is a stronger relationship, improved work skills and lower stress levels.
While the performance review has historically been the setting for managers to give mostly one-way feedback, the use of 360-degree assessment tools enables gathering multiple sources of performance data rather than relying on one person’s perspective. Relevant peers, employees or customers may contribute their experiences in an effort to further refine both the individual’s performance and skills development.
Weekly feedback, however, most effectively reinforces desired behaviors so that they are repeated appropriately, and it provides a timely course correction for behaviors that should be modified. Feedback is a key ingredient in employee loyalty and motivation. Here are seven tips for giving feedback more effectively:
1. Praise in public and reprimand in private.
2. Offer positive feedback whenever possible, but provide negative feedback, if necessary.
3. Be specific.
4. Offer constructive suggestions.
5. Watch your–and their–body language. Meet eye rolling or other negative nonverbal behaviors by saying, “Is there something I am saying that bothers you?”
6. Skip the small stuff.If the employee’s behavior is not negatively affecting operations, service, quality or customer relations, let it go.
7. Accent the positive. Catch someone doing something right-and they are more likely to repeat the behavior appropriately in the future.
Receiving feedback is more of an art than a science. Prepare yourself prior to receiving feedback so that the interaction strengthens-not weakens–your relationship.
• 1. Focus and listen. Do not accept phone calls, send emails, allow interruptions or otherwise multi-task.
• 2. Ask the individual to prioritize and clarify if they are giving you multi-part feedback.
• 3. Ask what specific actions or behaviors would be appropriate or preferred.
• 4. Set a reasonable deadline for response. Digest the input before deciding your next course of action.
• 5. Be prepared to act by the deadline. If you cannot act on the feedback, explain why and provide an alternative.
Article by Nancy Ahlrichs Raichart