Feedback is a tricky thing.
It can be controversial, unwarranted, poorly received or delivered, or it can offer an insight into an issue that helps your team upskill and grow.
Feedback is a tool for every manager and team member to help enhance their positive qualities and self-correct their negative ones to help them proceed on a productive path.
If the feedback you’re giving isn’t constructive, then it’s not feedback – instead becoming unconstructive criticism.
Create processes for regular check-ins
Regardless of the size of your business, if you are working with someone else it’s important to create processes to check in with each other.
You can choose to use this time and conversation for planning, reflecting on past hurdles and successes, and constructively working to foresee future issues and work out how to negate or overcome them as a team.
Create a 2-way conversation
Nobody is flawless – if you’re a manager, make sure you’re receptive to feedback from your team as well.
Everybody has different expertise and skillsets to bring to the table, and thinking your knowledge is better than everyone in your team is asking for a humbling experience to come into your world.
Reaching out to your team and peers for feedback, brainstorming and project reviews helps you develop ideas, check for errors, and create better internal relationships.
How to deliver constructive feedback
Trying to explain to someone that they misstepped a month earlier leaves room open not only for misremembering, but also fear that the issue has been harbored and grown over that time.
If a behaviour or quality emerges that isn’t productive to the business or your team, you need to act relatively quickly so it’s at the forefront of the person’s memory.
Consider your tone
The delivery of negative feedback can make people feel defensive – if you don’t feel capable of having the conversation in person (although it’s recommended), try writing everything out in an email and getting someone to look over it from the receiver’s perspective.
Being considerate of your tone and the wording you use can help people see things from your perspective, as does using evidence-based examples.
Give deserved praise
Your team deserves positive feedback just as much as constructive feedback – both help them grow in their roles by showing them what they’re doing exceptionally well in, and what may need to be altered for the person to succeed.
If it’s possible, create an actionable outcome from your discussion and feedback.
This will act as a learning tool and an opportunity for your team member to prove they’ve learned and undertaken professional development since the feedback.