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time-for-feedbackGiving feedback can help your employees to improve in efficiency and productivity, but if it is given in the wrong way it can actually cause resentment and lower morale. Many workplace studies have suggested that much of the feedback that managers and supervisors give to their employees is not very constructive, helpful or motivating.

Unfortunately, giving your employees this type of feedback will actually have the opposite effect of what you desire. If you are giving your employee feedback that is harsh or unfair, they are likely to reject it rather than listen because it will hurt their feelings. They might nod and smile to your face, but they will be secretly resenting you. When it comes to workplace performance and going the extra mile, an employee who feels like they are wrongly criticized all the time will have less loyalty and drive and will be much less willing to put in the extra effort to help you.

Feedback that is ill-informed or confusing will also negatively affect your employee’s performance. Employees are frustrated by feedback from managers who contradict their previous instructions or who don’t understand the processes of the task at hand. It is important to keep things clear to avoid frustration.

Give Empowering Feedback

Of course, you need to give employee feedback so that you can provide your employees with the direction they need to perform their job correctly. So what is the best way to give them feedback that will motivate rather than devastate them?

While negative and badly given feedback can bring down employee productivity, good quality feedback can help it skyrocket. When you give your employees feedback in the right way, it will help them to learn and grow and become the best they can be. You should be giving your employees feedback that empowers them and helps them recognize their own strengths and weaknesses so that they can improve.

One thing to keep in mind is to avoid praising by title when things go right. When an employee does something well you might be tempted to say, “You’re a great webdesigner/salesperson/accountant.” Instead, it is better to praise the things that your employee did right and focus on the actions, not the person (such as their creative ideas or dedication). If they run into problems in the future, they will remember the positive behaviors that helped them succeed before.

The same goes for when your employee’s performance is lacking. Instead of making the failure personal, talk about the specific and concrete things that they did wrong. Focusing on the behavior and not the person will help them to not get discouraged or lose motivation and it will give them the solutions that they need to do better next time.

It is also important to be as specific as possible. It is not helpful for your employee just to be told that they did something wrong, they need to know what they did wrong so that they can fix the problem.

Is Face-to-Face or Online More Effective?

When you are giving feedback to your employees, should you present it to them face-to-face or online?

While it might be easier to send the feedback in an email, especially if you feel awkward giving the person some suggestions for improvement, it is considered much more respectful to give your feedback in person.

When you take the time to sit down with your employee and discuss things face-to-face, it shows them that you value their contribution and that their ongoing development is important to you. It might be somewhat awkward to bring up feedback in a face-to-face situation, but as a manager it is part of your job. As long as you give the feedback in a constructive way, your employee should accept it as an opportunity to learn and grow.

About the Author: Robert Pierce has been a manager for the last five years and he does his best to offer helpful and constructive feedback to his team.

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