“Champions know that success is inevitable; that there is no such thing as failure, only feedback. They know that the best way to forecast the future is to create it.”
~ Michael J. Gelb ~
Five months into his job, Jeremy was in his usual upbeat mood, ready to dive into client portfolios, when his manager walked up to his cubicle and said the six words most employees dread to hear: “We need to discuss your performance.”
Jeremy felt butterflies flying in his stomach. Was he not doing a good job? Had he made a serious blunder? His formal performance review was months away; why the sudden meeting? With many questions racing through his mind, Jeremy gingerly sat in front of his manager.
Jeremy’s manager, Ben, maintained a serious disposition. He was never too quick to laugh at jokes, but he was a man of ethics, intelligence, and good conduct—and he commanded respect.
Ben reviewed his notes and started by commending Jeremy on areas where he had performed well. Jeremy felt more at ease. Ben then went on to talk about how in certain cases Jeremy had fallen short of expectations and provided hands-on positive feedback on how he could take steps to improve.
Ben drafted out a clear roadmap, an action plan, for Jeremy to follow.
At the end of meeting, Jeremy was enlightened and confused. He nervously asked, “Ben, did our performance reviews get expedited?” A rare smile spread across Ben’s face. “No,” he said. “You’ll still have a review at year-end. I find that constantly providing feedback helps in three ways. It keeps employees happy by helping them do a better job and reach their career goals faster, it helps the firm increase productivity levels on an ongoing basis, and it saves me time at the end of the year—all I need to do is recap.”
If you have employees under you, recognize the benefits of providing constant feedback. Here are ten steps you can take to provide feedback to your employees without waiting for the annual performance review:
- Assess on a regular basis.
- Provide continuous feedback.
- Identify solid performance and encourage it.
- Tackle performance problems as they happen.
- Takes notes or maintain a file.
- Openly communicate.
- Summarize positive performance.
- Summarize areas that need improvement.
- Develop a clear plan of action for success and offer solutions.
- Don’t hold back in giving total support.
Feedback isn’t positive or negative—it’s just feedback. Consult with an executive coach to open the lines of communication with your people and boost performance.
Talkback: Do you dread filling out end of year performance reviews for your employees? Would you be open to constant feedback from your manager? Share your thoughts below.
~ Ken Blanchard ~
I’ve come across many star employees, even those with top executive leadership skills who find the area of performance reviews a mundane, tiresome task. It doesn’t matter if they themselves are being reviewed or if they are the reviewers; some people just shun the idea of giving and receiving feedback.
Why? Maybe it’s because they don’t want to face a difficult, uneasy situation if it may arise. Some feel they might be humiliating their colleagues or there are those who don’t want to voice their opinion because they fear being disliked. Then there is the defensive type. These people find it hard to take criticism. Others can’t give effective feedback because they don’t want to hurt their co-workers’ feelings.
Whatever the reason, one important point to keep in mind is that there is no such thing as positive or negative feedback—it’s just feedback. If you give and receive feedback with this mindset, you can do a much better job of finding effective ways to provide quality feedback without having any “hard feelings” attached.
The Most Effective Ways to Provide Feedback
- Make sure all answers and suggestions are being delivered in the right way. Give constructive criticism regarding negative actions and behaviors and offer career development tips the individual can implement right away.
- Feedback is feedback. Don’t think of feedback as positive or negative. This can actually inhibit your ability to say what you truly want to say. Just as an art critique is of the painting and not of the artist, you’re giving effective feedback on the behaviors that need to be corrected not on the individual’s character.
- What information would help this person do a better job? This is an important question to ask yourself as you give feedback, as your ultimate goal is to encourage behaviors that will ultimately help the individual get ahead and have a positive impact on co-workers and the firm at large.
If you’re on the receiving end, it is imperative to ask the right questions to make sure you get the best possible advice. Business Management Daily has published a post entitled, “How to Ask for Feedback,” that includes some tips from my book, Getting Ahead. Follow these tips to get constructive feedback to help you improve your performance at work.
Discover more effective ways to provide feedback or order my book Getting Ahead: Three Steps to Take Your Career to the Next Level for more practical tips to help you advance in your career!
Image: Grant Cochrane / FreeDigitalPhotos.net