How to Have Tough but Positive Conversations With Your Team

Your team craves feedback and wants to know how they are performing. But often, those conversations can be difficult and don’t lead to the desired improvements.

By learning how to give great feedback, a manager can help employees meet expectations and achieve company goals. Well-delivered, positive feedback can make employees feel valued, appreciated, and successful. Poorly delivered feedback can lead to feelings of frustration, failure, and confusion as employees struggle to meet unclear expectations.

Here are some tips for providing employee feedback that improves morale and builds a stronger team.

Be timely. Deliver your feedback as close to the behavior or activity as possible, while the work is still fresh in your employees’ minds—especially if there is a chance to immediately course correct. Giving your employees the ability to fix the problem will make them feel more successful and position you as a trusted guide by their side.

Be specific. Help your employees understand what they are doing right—or what could be improved—by stating it directly. Be clear, straightforward, and relevant. Your employee wants to do a great job, so you aren’t doing them any favors by withholding information to help them improve. Plus, specific feedback has a greater chance of getting the desired behavior or result.

Be empathetic. Before you speak, think about how you would feel if you were to hear the same information. If you’re delivering praise, it’s appropriate to do it in public. However, if your feedback is negative, make it private. To avoid sounding accusatory, avoid using “you” during the discussion. Instead, use “I” and “we” to position yourself on the same team as the employee and emphasize that you want to help them develop their skills and grow with the company.

Be consistent. Too often, feedback is only delivered when there is a problem or a big success. Take care to offer feedback consistently to all employees, not just the under-performing or top-performing individuals. Frequent feedback (especially praise) helps build trust and collaboration within the team, bit by bit, over time. This established trust comes in handy when you need to correct a mistake or behavior in the future.

Related Posts:

Navigating Feedback Conversations: Common Mistakes to Avoid

Empathy: A Powerful Tool in Today’s Workforce

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