Feedback is critical to your team’s success. And the benefits of effective feedback cannot be overstated.
However, it is essential for you to differentiate between effective and ineffective feedback to help your team grow to their full potential.
Feedback should help in improving the standard of your team’s work. And since each team’s way of working is unique, there cannot be a method set in stone to provide feedback that works for all. But there are some common practices that can be followed to ensure that feedback is positive and focused on boosting the team’s morale.
What is right for your team?
Feedback comes in many ways – it can be positive or critical; or it can be verbal or written. But with each form, you must know the right way to deliver feedback.
The right kind of feedback for your team is the one that motivates them to overcome their shortcomings. But if it is too critical or discouraging, it might not motivate your team at all. In fact, if feedback is not handled carefully, it can lead to a negative working environment.
Ideally, a mix of both positives and negatives seem to work well with feedback. This balance ensures that the message is communicated to the team members while keeping them encouraged and focused.
Here are some things you should keep in mind while providing feedback to your team members.
Start with the positives
Before you lay down what’s not working, it’s best to discuss what’s been working so far.
It ensures an appreciative environment and will help in ease the conversation.
It is natural for human beings to feel lost when things are not going their way. And you need to ensure that you are guiding your team in the right direction instead of swaying them away.
Starting with the positives will ensure that your team members know that they are doing well, they just need to give themselves a little push to do their best. For instance, if your team member did not perform well in a task, but excelled in all the other tasks – make sure that you mention where they excel before you point out their faults.
Point towards opportunities
Everyone at some point is going to make a mistake. First, you must build an environment where your team isn’t too afraid to make a mistake. Second, you must turn mistakes as an opportunity for your team to learn and grow.
Instead of plainly pointing out faults in your team, you must present these faults as an opportunity to be better and move forward from them.
Have private conversations too
Here’s what your mantra should be: praise publicly, criticise privately. And it should only have a few exceptions.
Effective feedback should not leave any one feeling embarrassed or humiliated. So it’s always best to have sensitive conversations in private. A one-on-one also makes the team member feel more comfortable and valued.
Emphasise on the solution
More than the problem, you need to focus on solutions to the problem.
Since the problem has already occured, there is nothing much you can do than just addressing it. So instead focus on the solution to that problem and help your team member reach there.
Focus on your words
Feedback can only be effective if it’s framed appropriately. When providing constructive feedback, you must pay attention to your words.
Your feedback should include how a little change can benefit the team member. Only then will they be personally interested and accepting to change.
For instance, change the focus in your speech from ‘you-did-this’ to ‘I-can-help’ for your feedback to be more effective.
Be emotionally intelligent
If you’ve built a strong team, it is likely that you have great relationships with the team members. And you would also know them on a personal level.
Before giving your feedback, you should also take into consideration your team member’s mental well being. And ensure that you appropriately provide feedback and offer help if the team member is already emotionally overwhelmed.
On the other hand, you must also consider your own emotional state. For instance, if you’re angry, you are likely to deliver feedback focused on the negatives. And it leaves a negative impact.
Keep the team spirit up!
The intent behind effective feedback is to strengthen your team members. So ensure that your focus is always on the team member first before anything else.
Further, to ensure that feedback is effective, you need to build a culture that accepts feedback. It should be something that your team expects and appreciates. Not just something that you have to provide to get things on track.