Giving employees feedback is an important way to keep communication open, but when given the wrong way, it may end up causing more harm than good. The wrong approach can make employees feel underappreciated and uninterested in striving to do a better job. Here are 5 things NOT to do when giving employees feedback.
Provide Feedback Only During an Annual Performance Review
Employees need to receive regular communication on what they’re doing right and what could be improved. If the only feedback you provide is during the annual review, some of what you say may come as a complete surprise to them. Employees are not likely to respond well to a criticism on an annual review that has never been pointed out to them all year.
Focus Only On Shortcomings
If your feedback always focuses on the negative, you’re not likely to get the result you want from an employee. Let your employees know how much you appreciate the things they’re doing right and the contribution they’re making to the company. Highlight what they’re doing well while providing constructive feedback on things that could use improvement. Too much emphasis on the negative can cause employees to see other opportunities outside the company.
Lack Clarity on What Needs to Change
It’s important to provide clarity on your expectations and on what needs to change or improve going forward. Feedback that is vague and unclear is likely to lead to demotivated employees. Don’t just tell them to stop doing something without clearly stating what you want them to do instead.
Lose Control of Your Emotions
The last thing you want to do when giving feedback to employees is to lose control of your emotions. Some employees may be reactive to the feedback you’ve given them. De-escalation training can give you the tools you need to handle intense situations and slow down emotional reactivity.
Discourage a Two-Way Conversation
Feedback shouldn’t be one-sided. When you’ve given the employee feedback, give them a chance to respond and listen to what they have to say. Managers sometimes try to avoid letting the employee express what’s on their mind because they may be afraid of conflict, but conflict occurs sooner or later in all relationships. It’s important to allow the employee to make comments or ask questions. Communication skills coaching can help managers learn and practice the skills needed to give both positive and negative feedback and resolve conflicts in the workplace. Good communication abilities are the heart of management and leadership, and effective managers continually work to improve leadership skills.