An employee needs to be given continual feedback to make sure they are still on track to achieve their goals. It is no good giving feedback once a year. If the feedback is positive then it’s a pleasure. If the feedback is ‘constructive’ in order to change someone’s actions or behaviour, then care should be taken to ensure that the discussions are seen as ‘problem solving’ rather than personal criticism.
The following advice will help you deliver constructive criticism in a non-threatening manner.
- Always ask for permission to give feedback as you never know what someone is experiencing personally and they may not be in the right state of mind to be criticised.
- Never give feedback if you’re angry.
- Express appreciation for an employee’s efforts.
- Give feedback in a timely manner. It is no good waiting weeks to bring up an issue.
- Be specific so that the employee is clear about what needs to be done.
- Always focus on ‘what’ has been observed rather than ‘why’ it happened. Do not apportion blame.
- The language should always be neutral and never aggressive.
- Do not get into an argument. If you start to argue, stop the feedback.
- Listen and be receptive to the employee’s point of view.
- Explain the positive consequences of changes to behaviour and the negative consequences if no change occurs.
- Ask the employee what they would do if they were you.
- Attempt to find a win/win outcome where both you and the employee are happy with the outcome.
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