How to Improve Your Feedback Skills
As around half of all office workers are still working remotely it's more important than ever for managers to deliver timely feedback. However, one of the most difficult skills for a manager is knowing how and when to deliver both positive and constructive feedback, which is exacerbated by online working. Unfortunately many managers still avoid having the difficult conversations about performance until an annual appraisal or review when it’s often too late to bring up an incidence of poor performance or behaviour.
Even before the global pandemic it was often a challenge for managers to find the right balance of delivering positive feedback to encourage discretionary peformance and giving constructive feedback when necessary, but with many of their team members still working remotely, it is even more difficult to achieve the right tone whilst considering the impact of home working on their team. In order to maintain employee engagement, morale and effectiveness it is still best to deliver instant feedback, whether it is positive or constructive, and this should ideally be delivered face to face or via video call, not by email or on the 'phone.
If feedback is not given in a timely way, or is of poor quality, any information on a gap in performance between objectives and actual behavior is usually not well received. The team member may become defensive, angry, upset or demotivated. In addition, they may not learn from a mistake, nor make any progress and work relationships may suffer as a result. Feedback should encourage self-reflection and increase self-awareness; it should also provide a learning opportunity and reinforce key strengths, as well as monitoring achievement of key objectives and clarify the effects of behavior.
An acknowledgement of good work completed is often just a simple ‘thank you’ and this is proven to increase discretionary effort and encourage employees to go the extra mile but often teams are on to the next task or project and individual and team success is not identified or celebrated.
Natural Talents training module 'How to Improve Feedback Skills' has a positive impact in the workplace. Managers practise how to describe specific current behavior by identifying times, places and circumstances. They learn how to remain assertive and to describe the actual behavior and the consequence of the behavior using neutral words. Managers also identify the need to emphasise the impact of poor behaviors on the function or company and practise how to ask the staff member to identify alternative behavior and options for improvement.
This Development Module includes the following learning and practice:
- the importance of feedback in managing performance and motivating staff
- where, when and how feedback should be delivered
- how to give positive, constructive and honest feedback
- having the confidence to address the difficult conversations
- handling any potential conflict situations
- developing a SMART Action Plan for future development
'This was the most useful course I have ever attended; the exercises were spot on and have given the team the confidence to deliver effective feedback - whether positive or constructive. I will recommend that our Executive Team go through the same module. Thank you!' Head of Finance