5 Steps for Giving Productive Feedback to Your Employees
Feedback is an important part of any plumbing business. Sometimes it is hard to know how to approach feedback appropriately, so that the employee receiving it will understand correctly and use the feedback to become more productive.
It’s crucial that people giving and receiving feedback feel secure, or it is unlikely that the feedback will be useful enough to affect any long term changes. Studies cited at the NeuroLeadership Summit in Boston, claim that people who receive feedback apply it only 30% of the time, according to Columbia University neuroscientist Kevin Ochsner.
The following are some tips to help that percentage rise when you give feedback to your employees:
1. Be kind.
Remember that it is very important when giving feedback that your attitude is courteous and encouraging. You can’t make the person receiving the feedback feel belittled or shamed in any way. Criticism and feedback is only constructive when you are being patient and kind. Of course this isn’t always easy if the situation is tense but no matter the circumstance you must make the person receiving the feedback feel secure or it is unlikely your feedback will be received appropriately.
2. Be specific.
Don’t let your feedback be too general or all encompassing. Don’t say things like, “When we have business meetings try to interact and give your thoughts.” Instead say, “I really value your opinion because you are very intelligent and I would like to hear you give at least two of your thoughts when we are having a business meeting.”
3. Be positive.
Sometimes we have to give negative or corrective feedback but this only works if you couple it with positivity about some aspect of the job they are doing well. People have threat responses and can become defensive if the feedback is not softened by something positive.
4. Be tough, but not mean.
Employees make mistakes and it can be very frustrating especially if the mistakes continue to be repeated. In these situations feedback needs to be firm but be very careful that your firmness is not crossing over into a mean form of feedback. It’s a fine line but if you keep your frustration in check you can be tough but not rude or inconsiderate. Nothing will change if your feedback is mean and it can even lead to the employee quitting or bringing negativity into the workplace.
5. Be immediate.
You can’t always succeed at giving constructive feedback immediately because the circumstances might not be appropriate. However, in every case you should make the effort to give feedback as soon as a problem becomes evident. This is important because the incident is fresh and there is less of a chance of misunderstanding your feedback. If you wait then the memories of what is or is not happening will be muddled and clarity is less likely achieved.