Feedback is one of the most valuable things a business leader can give to support the growth and performance of their people. It helps them to understand what they’re doing right and where they can improve.
When feedback is positive, it acts as a source of inspiration and motivation. There is energy in reassurance; knowing that you’re taking the right steps towards success.
When feedback is negative, it can be challenging to receive, but it’s also a fantastic opportunity for growth. Negative feedback, when given effectively, shows us the things that need to be worked on in a supportive, and insightful way. It means we can become better at what we do in the long term.
The Benefits of Effective Feedback
The benefits of effective feedback start with engagement. When people get good quality feedback and guidance from their leaders, they can feel more engaged with their role, valued by their leaders, and more included as part of the team. There is a wealth of data to support that feedback drives positive results.
A recent global survey shows that 96% of employees say they want to hear feedback regularly, but a third of respondents say they typically have to wait more than three months to get feedback from their manager.
Reduces staff turnover. Engaging with your people regularly about how they’re doing in their roles is a great way to keep them around. It also helps to give them information about where they can be improving. Team members like to see that they’re making progress in their roles, and feedback helps with this.
Provides better business outcomes. You can only drive better results for your company if your employees know what to do to deliver success. Show your employees how the work they are doing aligns with the business’s objectives. Employees who understand why their role is critical to the business’s success are more likely to be successful.
Three Tips for Giving More Effective Feedback
TIP 1: Be Frequent and Timely
Feedback loses its effectiveness if it’s not provided often enough or at the right time. People will often trust their leader more if they receive regular and real-time feedback. Communication keeps people energised and when your team know to expect frequent feedback from you, the perception will be that it’s authentic when you deliver it.
Timing is critical. If something needs to be addressed urgently, make it a priority. Don’t wait until the next formal occasion comes around to deliver praise or criticism. If you miss an opportunity to provide timely feedback, there could be a perceived risk that you don’t value or care enough about that person to take your time to help them.
Good feedback increases productivity. The more you communicate with your team, the more confident they’ll be about taking responsibility and initiative. Providing regular feedback also keeps your team members working more efficiently because they won’t be questioning if they are doing things well; they will already know whether they are on track or not.
TIP 2: Be Specific and Objective
In addition to your timing, another valuable thing you can do is make your feedback specific and objective.
Avoid making generalised observations about something, such as, “You were great in that meeting”. Although these statements might make others feel good, they don’t give any direction for the future. Instead, try, “That meeting was fantastic, I really liked how much data you used to back up your ideas.”
At the same, focus on factual information with your feedback, particularly if you’re giving negative information.
For instance, saying something like, “I don’t like how you handled that call,” might lead someone to feel defensive and not receptive to your input. Try saying, “You answered that call within three rings and were able to offer a solution within five minutes. Excellent attention to detail and response time. It will be even better next time for you to introduce yourself first before you ask the customer how you can help.”
Specific and objective pieces of feedback can be incredibly powerful motivators for people to do their best work.
TIP 3: Give Actionable Suggestions
Finally, avoid only telling someone that you liked or disliked something they did. Give them ideas on what to do next. Linking feedback to action is what makes feedback valuable.
Instead of, “I think you could have done better in that call,” explain what they can do to get better results the next time.
For instance, “That call was very clear and well-spoken, but I think you lost track of our message a few times. Perhaps you could glance down at our sales scripts from time to time just to keep yourself on track?”
Effective feedback is beneficial for you, your team members, and your business. Keep these tips in mind to keep your team on track with genuine feedback that they can use and appreciate.