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Employee Engagement

The Best Way to Give Positive and Negative Feedback During 1:1s With Your Employees

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Feedback – A Critical Leadership Skill


As performance management moves from post-mortem and review-oriented to continuous and development oriented, constructive and development-oriented feedback is becoming a key skill for managers. It’s not just about being a basis for deciding the increment for next year, but more about enabling the individual to reflect, change and view the feedback session as one that helps one grow and contribute better to the team goals.


It is as much about the leader’s ability give feedback as it is about the person’s ability to accept and change what needs to be changed and reinforce what’s already good. In other words, it’s about making the feedback more palatable and truly helpful.


Here are some key elements to successfully making feedback work. Each one sounds relatively simple, but when you put them all together you get a rich, open dialogue.


employee feedback

Picture Credits: redeapp.com


Make it contextual to Org./Team goals


Why is feedback important to the employee? Because you can link the feedback back to the values and strategy of the organization. It will help the employee connect the dots between the work they do and the success of the team.Let them know why feedback is important to help them learn, grow, and develop so that they have the career that they want to have.


Make it authentic


Scripted and statements filled with clichés that don’t sound like will be seen right through by your team. Prepare and give it the importance it deserves. If you go into a feedback session because someone said you have to, you are not making it real to yourself, the team and the individual. If the employee trusts that their best interests are in your heart, they will be much more likely to accept feedback, and generally will be the one to suggest how they might best improve or develop.


Let employees CHOOSE to change


As a leader, you cannot make an employee change. The best that you can do is set clear expectations and provide honest feedback. The choice to accept or reject that feedback belongs to the employee.What you can do is help the employee explore the consequences; for example, what will be the outcome if the change is not made? If the outcome is that the employee can no longer perform their current role, that’s a heavy consequence and needs to be very clear.


Dialogue lead by Listening & enquiry


Chances are, there are ways that you can help the employee, so ask them how best you can help. Offer the opportunity for shared feedback by asking a couple of questions in a way that lets him/her know that you really would like to hear their feedback. It may take time for the employee to be comfortable with the two-way feedback, but keep asking and perhaps offer some ideas.


Objectivity and consistency


Don’t change your parameters and boundaries for Peter and Paul. Keep it to the facts and prepare them in advance if you have to. Don’t succumb to being popular at the cost of being fair. That’s what people respect in the long term.


Hold your Ground… You’re the Boss!


The bottom line is, you are the leader and you are the one held ultimately accountable for the overall performance. This is your job, and the ultimate decisions about the work of the team falls to you. You aren’t their friend, you’re their leader and your responsibility is to provide open and candid feedback. It is their choice to accept it or not.

There is no easy way and the sooner you confront tough one-on-one sessions with fair and honest feedback lead by enquiry and Big picture, you will actually be doing your team a favour, They will see it tomorrow if not today.