How Leaders Can Give More Effective Feedback

Employees Planning at Table Trading Effective Feedback

Effective feedback is one of the most valuable things a business leader can give. Constructive feedback in the workplace helps everyone to understand what we’re doing right and where we need to improve. When feedback is positive, it acts as a source of motivation. We get the reassurance of knowing that we’re taking the right steps towards our goals.

When feedback is negative, it can be worrisome initially, but it’s also a valuable opportunity for growth. Negative feedback, when given effectively, shows the things that we need to improve in a supportive way. The short-term work may be tough, but the payoff will be worth it in the long term.

The Benefits of Constructive Feedback

The benefits of constructive feedback start with engagement. When people get constant feedback and guidance from their team leaders, they feel more engaged by their role and more connected to the team. There are countless statistics proving that feedback drives positive results.

Around 96% of employees say they want to hear feedback regularly.

Feedback also:

  • Reduces staff turnover. Giving specific feedback regarding positive things you see your team doing is a great way to retain staff. However, it also helps to give them information about what areas they can grow. Team members like to see that they’re making progress in their roles.
  • Provides better business outcomes. You can only drive better results for your company if your employees know what to do to deliver success. Telling your employees why the work they’ve done is on target or missing the mark means that they’re more likely to deliver effective results in the future.
  • Increases productivity. The more feedback your team receives, the more confident they’ll be about taking initiative. Providing feedback on a consistent basis keeps your team members from constantly questioning what they do because they already know what their goals are and how to reach them.

How to Give Effective Feedback

Step 1: Be Positive

Giving feedback is important, but not just any feedback will do. Only around 29% of employees say that the feedback they get helps them to perform better in their job.

If you want the things you say to have a positive influence on your team, it’s important to have a strategy.

First, start by addressing the positives. Highlight what made their work effective and recognize the outcomes that came from the work.

For instance, “Great job on that sales pitch. The way you connected our product features to their recent marketing challenges really got them to take notice.”

If you’re going to give negative feedback, starting the conversation with a positive comment will make your team member more receptive to hearing the rest of what you’re going to say.

  • Ineffective: Your latest work isn’t written in line with the brand voice.
  • Effective: We really like that you’ve taken the time to produce a well-researched piece of work. However, I’ve outlined a few areas where your tone might not match the company voice. Could you take another look at these sections?

Step 2: Be Specific and Objective

Aside from approaching feedback from a positive perspective, the other most valuable thing you can do to make your feedback more effective is to be specific.

Avoid making generalized 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 drive home your point.”

At the same, focus on factual information with your feedback, particularly if you’re giving negative information.

For instance, instead of saying, “I don’t like how you handled that call,” remove your feelings from the situation. Say “Great job on jumping into that call with a quick response time. It would have been better for you to introduce yourself on that call before you asked the customer how you can help.”

Remember, objective and specific pieces of feedback will help your employees to understand what they’ve done well and where they could improve.

Step 3: Give Actionable Advice

Finally, avoid only telling someone that you liked or disliked something they did. Give them actionable advice on what to do next. Actionable advice is what makes feedback constructive.

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?”

Moving Forward

Effective feedback is beneficial for you, your team members, and your company. Focus this week on starting a habit of giving consistent feedback.