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Feedback - How to Make it Effective


Let's look at the detail of giving feedback. Whether youwant to reinforce behaviour - Confirming feedback or changeunacceptable behaviour - Productive feedback, there arecertain steps you need to follow to make it work.

1. Do it ASAP - When you see or hear something you do ordon't like you need to say something right away. If it'sConfirming feedback it's not much use saying somethingmonths later. - "I liked the way you handled that difficultcustomer a couple of months ago Dave." Dave is going to havea bit of a problem remembering that situation and the effectof the feedback is totally wasted.

It also makes sense to give Dave Productive feedback as soonas you see or hear something you don't like. If you don't doit right away then Dave will assume that you didn't noticeor that it doesn't matter or that you don't care.

2. Do it in private - This seems like the most obvious thingto say but I still see managers giving a member of theirteam some Productive feedback in front of other people bethey colleagues or customers. Of course, it's usually moreof a reprimand.

I think some managers believe that if they're seen and heardgiving some feedback then it will have an effect on theother team members - you bet it will - it'll totally de-motivate them!

3. Check that it's okay to speak - Always check that it'sokay to speak. If one of your team has just finishedspeaking to a customer on the phone, they might have someadmin things to do before they forget. If you interrupt thenyou risk being responsible for a customer not gettingsomething they were promised.

It's only good manners to check before speaking and yourpeople will respect you for it.

4. Announce your intentions - If your people are not used toreceiving regular feedback, what do you think runs throughtheir mind when you pull up a chair or ring them on thephone - your right - they think it's bad news, that they'vedone something wrong or there's a problem.

It's important therefore to tell them up front what you wantto speak about.

You might say - "Jill, I've just read your last report andI'd like to give you some good news." You then go on to givethem some Confirming feedback - and remember to make itdescriptive.

5. Tell them how YOU feel about their behaviour - Yourpeople work for the same organisation as you but it's youthey have to please. So make sure when you give feedback -it comes from you. That means not saying things like - "Thecompany doesn't like their employees to speak to customerslike that." Or - "It's not up to me but you'd better improveyour performance or you'll be in trouble."

You need to use lots of "I" messages. Get personallyinvolved, say things like - "I liked the way you told thatcustomer that you would deal with their problem yourself."Or - "I'm unhappy with the way to told that customer that itwasn't your responsibility." Or - "I believe there's anotherway to do that job."

6. Focus on one thing at a time - Don't confuse your teammember with a whole list of behaviours. If it's Confirmingfeedback then you don't want to be saying - "I like the wayyou handle customers and your reports are always done ontime and it's great that you're achieving your target."You're only diluting the whole feedback and it loses itsimpact.

If you're giving Productive feedback then you don't want toconfuse your team member with a whole catalogue ofbehaviours that you're unhappy about. Sadly this seems to bethe case with managers who don't give feedback on poorbehaviour immediately. They allow things to go on and on andthen they eventually explode. It's much better to deal withbehaviour as and when it happens.

7. Be specific - When you are giving one of your team somefeedback and coaching them - it's so important to focus onjob related behaviour and not on the personality of theindividual.

If you feel a bit uncomfortable giving feedback, try tofocus on the person's behaviour on the job in terms of howthey conducted a particular task. That's what you're givingfeedback on, not them as a person.

It becomes easier if you're using "I" messages and beingvery descriptive about what you've seen or heard. You couldsay something like - "I liked the way you tided up theworkshop after you finished that job - thank you Fred." You're trying to get the balance between being human butalso businesslike.

8. Include the customer and the organisation - Wheneverappropriate -relate what your feedback is about to how thecustomer was affected. This of course could be an internalor an external customer. You could also relate it to how theorganisation was affected, if relevant

9. Get input - When giving Productive feedback, it'simportant to get the team members input. You might say -"I'm unhappy that this is the third time this month thatyour report has been late Joanne. However I'm willing tolisten to what you have to say and discuss how we canresolve this situation."

10. Don't leave them low - This is particularly importantafter giving Productive feedback. As I said earlier, thisisn't an attack on the person; it's about job relatedbehaviour. A team member should come out of a Productivefeedback session with their sense of self-worth intact.

Discover how you can generate more business by motivatingyour team!Alan Fairweather is the author of "How to get More Salesby Motivating Your Team" This book is packed with practicalthings you can do to get the best out of your people. Click here now http://www.howtogetmoresales.com

http://www.alanfairweather.com


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