Providing Effective Feedback in the Workplace

Providing effective employee and client relations feedback can be a daunting task. How do you tell the truth about areas in your client-business relationship that need improvement without the other party getting hurt or defensive? What is the appropriate way to inform an employee that they are under-preforming and need to take their work more seriously? Review the chart below comparing effective and ineffective feedback strategies and apply the effective strategies to your small business relationships.

 

Effective Feedback Ineffective Feedback
Describes objectively the behavior which led to the feedback: “You are interrupting me.” Uses evaluative, judgmental or generalized statements: “You’re being rude” or ‘You’re trying to control the conversation.”
Comes as soon as appropriate after the behaviour, immediately if possible. Is delayed, saved up and then dumped on the person. The more time that passes between incidents/evaluations and feedback will only induce guilt and anger in the received. After a lot of time has passed, there is usually not much he or she can do about it.
Is direct, from sender to receiver: not through your receptionist or assistant. Is indirect or ricocheted: “Ann, how do you feel when Tom plays his music loudly?” this is trying to force another person into your place in the dispute.
Is “owned” by the sender. This is done by using “I-messages” and taking responsibility for one’s thoughts, actions and feelings. ‘Ownership” is transferred to “the people”, “the law”, “everybody else”, “Americans everywhere”, “the media” etc.
Is checked for clarity. This is to ensure that the receiver fully understands what is being conveyed and the feedback is not being sent in anger. Is not checked. The sender either assumes clarity by the other party or is not interested in learning whether the received fully understands the  feedback.
Is solicited or at least to some extent desired by the receiver. Is imposed on the receiver, often “for his or her own good”
Refers to behaviours about which the received can do something if he or she chooses. Refers to behaviours over which the receiver had little or no control over (not his or her job).
Affirms the receiver’s existence and worth by acknowledging his or her right to have the reactions he or she has, whatever they may be, and by being willing to work through the issues in a safe, supportive environment. Denies or discounts the receiver, often by using statistics abstractions or averages. Refusing to accept the receiver’s feelings: “You’re overreacting”.

Whether you run your business through a virtual office or one of ElevatedNY’s 2,000 square foot suites, you will benefit from learning how to provide effective feedback ensuring a strong business team, clear objectives and top performance standards.

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