Good managers consider feedback as an ongoing process and will communicate with employees about their performance at regular intervals, commenting on both the positive and negative aspects and producing an action plan to correct issues as and when they appear.
This article examines some of the most common mistakes that managers make when providing employees with feedback:
Waiting until the annual appraisal before giving feedback
Feedback should be seen as an ongoing process. Providing feedback (positive and negative) at regular intervals throughout the year allows employees a chance to correct any performance issues ahead of an annual appraisal. Waiting until the annual appraisal to give feedback is counter-productive as employees may come to fear the occasion and additionally, there is a chance that small problems are not dealt with initially resulting in them growing into much bigger issues.
Adopting the “Feedback Sandwich” style
A “feedback sandwich” is initiated by issuing praise, softening any issues that follow in the feedback giving stage. The conversation is concluded with more praise or a positive outlook. This approach is not to make the receiver feel good about the conversation but rather to help the manager to deliver difficult feedback and to reduce the chances of a defensive or confrontational reaction.
Using this technique often will result in employees getting to know that immediately following praise comes criticism and whilst they are still focused on the negative the praise is not effectively communicated.
Not communicating expectations
If employees do not know what they are expected to achieve from the start they are more likely to be confused when they do receive feedback. Ensure that employees receive realistic and achievable performance targets and that the feedback correlates with the performance areas that the employee is being graded on.
Fear of addressing the actual cause of poor performance
Many managers simply do not like providing employees with honest feedback for fear of upsetting them, instead opting to “sugar-coat” negative feedback which ends up confusing employees. To be an effective leader providing constructive and accurate feedback is essential, adopting a discussion-based collaborative style will ensure that employees are given time to talk about their own experiences in relation to the managers expectations allowing the employee to engage in open and honest communication, making the entire experience more positive.
Lack of preparation
Many managers do not spend enough time preparing for the feedback conversation. Both parties should come prepared and start off by reviewing the expectations set at the previous meeting, additionally, managers should document employee’s accomplishments and areas of poor performance throughout the year so they have an accurate record to refer to.
These are just some of the common mistakes that you need to avoid when giving employees feedback, if you have any other mistakes the managers make, please share them with us on Twitter or by adding a comment below.