Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Feedback Basics Summary

Actions to take: Following the advice from this blog, you now have all the information necessary to begin giving casual, frequent feedback to your employees. Use this post as a reference point to previous entries.

In the early posts of this blog, I encouraged readers not to change how they give feedback to their employees right away. I explained that there are many elements to that transition, and a bad start could sour you and your team on ever trying to give meaningful feedback again.

We have now covered all the basic elements of a robust process for giving the kind of feedback that genuinely improves future performance. First, we explained the benefits, then outlined what you should do:

  • Give far more feedback than you currently do. Most employees report getting virtually no feedback about their performance on a regular basis. That means most bosses are not giving feedback. You are probably one of those bosses. Stop being one of those bosses.
  • Give feedback about everyday work. Dramatically lower your bar for how important something must be before you give feedback. Average bosses give feedback only when necessary. That is, when something is big enough that it would be weird not to give feedback. Stop that kind of thinking. Instead, give feedback on any behavior you would like to see more of or any behavior you would like to see changed.
  • Give far more positive feedback than corrective feedback. We notice the problems. It is easy to find flaws with your employees. But the results are in. It is far more productive to give positive feedback than corrective. It works just as well to guide future performance, people like it better, and it makes negative feedback easier when you have to give it. Shoot for minimum of a 5:1 ratio.

Then, we covered step-by-step instructions on how to do this well and easily. The main tool we use is a formula as a guide for phrasing your feedback. There are three major components to the feedback formula described in this blog: 

  1. Ask first to see if your employee is prepared to receive feedback.
  2. Phrase your feedback: "When you do X, it has Y impact.
  3. Finish by asking the employee to change or by affirming they should keep it up
We also had several other important posts about feedback. The articles:

After carefully reviewing these posts, you will be ready to start giving small, frequent feedback to your team. You will be able to improve individual and team performance using this low-stakes method that is far less painful than other feedback conversations. You won't be a feedback expert, but you will stop dreading these interactions with your employees. That alone puts you several steps ahead of the average boss.

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