How to Give Feedback Like a Boss

In a previous post we talked about using the “EARN” approach to giving constructive feedback that focuses on a person’s actions rather than on their person or character.

This is so important because when we feel personally assaulted, we are not in the proper mindset to hear what others have to say. Nor do we think that they have our best interests in mind.

Below are some other tips to help you deliver effective feedback that is more readily accepted and acted upon.

  1. Be positive – If your intention is genuine, and you can convey this to the employee, there’s a good chance your feedback will be effective.

  2. Be immediate – Give the feedback while the individual can act on it. Waiting until the end of the week, or worst yet, the annual performance review doesn’t help the person make mid-course corrections.

  3. Be honest – Say what needs to be said, rather than dance around the issue. Avoid the “sandwich technique,” which aims to couch criticism in praise.

  4. Be specific – To reiterate, identify the specifics of what went wrong or could be improved and discuss your expectations for how his/her behavior should change. Simple saying “good job” or “your performance needs to improve” is not enough.

  5. Be suggestive – Where possible, stay in suggestive mode by using words like “maybe” and “you could” instead of demanding terms such as “you must”, “from now on, always…” etc. If you are giving positive feedback, simply saying “good job” is not enough. Be specific about the behaviors you observed.

  6. Be empathic – Maybe the employee is running into obstacles, or maybe the employee doesn’t have the right tools or systems to do the work. Once you understand the reasons behind the performance issue, you can work to minimize or remove the obstacles. This approach will go a long way towards building the relationship and building a culture of feedback.

More feedback techniques to follow soon!