How to give feedback

Feedback is a powerful management process. If used effectively, it will maintain or improve your employees' output and, in turn, improve the overall performance of the organisation. Employees want feedback because it helps them learn about themselves and their performance. To provide effective feedback - positive or negative - consider these guidelines...

1. Provide feedback continually.

Whether informal, on-the-run comments or formal performance reviews, feedback will be less traumatic and more effective if it is given continually. Continuity of reporting is essential.

2. Provide immediate feedback if possible.

Feedback will have maximum effect if given while the behaviour is fresh in the minds of both parties. The most powerful feedback is given when you actually catch someone doing the right or wrong thing. Delayed feedback should occur only if it would embarrass the employee in front of others or if you require further information.

3. Be specific.

The more specific you can be with examples, the more telling the feedback will be. For instance, it would be inadequate to tell an employee that 'Your manners leave a lot to be desired'. But if the person was told, 'I was disappointed at this morning's committee meeting when you kept talking while I was speaking', the person could take some purposeful action to correct that behaviour.

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