As a manager, giving feedback is perhaps your most crucial task. Are employees receptive to the way you give criticism?
Does your feedback encourage employees to perform, or does it create resentment? Does it improve morale? Do your methods keep them in line with business objectives, or does it become a source of distraction?
There are some practical questions you should ask yourself, to rate the value of the feedback you provide. In an ideal corporate environment, feedback helps employees understand the reasons behind inconsistencies in their performance and recommend improvement.
Feedback should encourage employees’ career development. Unfortunately, the opposite often happens.
Managers make certain mistakes, sometimes unintentionally while giving feedback to their employees. These mistakes contradict the exact purpose of feedback, thereby jeopardizing the relationship between managers and their subordinates.
Consider a few ways your feedback strategy may be less than perfect:
- Trying to sugarcoat negative feedback.
Reluctant to hurt employee’s feelings, managers often try to minimize the impact of negative feedback by not stating things clearly as they are. This winds up confusing employees because supervisors beat around the bush. This keeps the employee from seeing his or her proper standing in the organization.
- Managers believe they are correct simply because they are more experienced.
Managers often see their experience as enough reason to judge. This sense of pride (and in some cases, superiority) is reflected in the way they provide feedback. They believe that employees must fully agree with their point of view. Rarely do they factor in employees’ own unique history and perspectives.
- Focusing on personalities, as opposed to actions.
Managers have a tendency to be judgmental about their employees. They let subjectivity determine their opinion of an employee.
- Oversimplifying the feedback.
Managers provide feedback without being specific as to exactly what led them to think that way. As a result, feedback is uncertain; leaving subordinates with a sense that their supervisors are unreasonable. They see the entire organization attempting to evaluate everyone along similar lines.
- Pairing solutions with negative feedback.
Managers that jump to conclusions frequently take their subordinates as people incapable of thinking on their own. So, they offer solutions for problems which they mistakenly believe employees face. They do not let them solve things alone.
- Feedback comes infrequently or only at annual performance reviews.
Giving feedback only at the annual performance review is a poor strategy for an effective workplace. It is far from complete. This will keep your employees up in the air, questioning what you think about their performance the rest of the time. They may feel let down and cynical about your motives if the feedback is negative.
Taking the time to evaluate performance in several intervals throughout the year will help you verify your position and make improvements when necessary, so it makes better sense to provide feedback regularly.
- Using inflammatory language.
In the excitement of making a point, some managers have a penchant for using emotionally charged words. Provocative language makes employees passionate, sensitive and anxious. This may result in resentment and hard feelings against management and the company as a whole.
Avoid these mistakes when you give useful feedback; it will better serve your company’s needs.