Throughout my experience working in Human Resources, I didn’t find a supervisor, boss, manager or general manager who was passionate about giving feedback to their teams, and it’s understandable since our brain is not designed to enjoy the criticism of our work.
One of the theories of the origin of the term feedback arises in the military research of the missiles’ behavior, during World War II. To track these weapons, communication mechanisms were developed, which helped detect the deviation of the planned route and send a correction to direct the missile to its objective. This correction mechanism was called feedback. Since then, this concept has become one of the most productive tools that you have as a leader in order to communicate and establish meaningful links with your team.
Some actions to integrate feedback to your communication routines are:
– Agree to disagree: Establishing the tone of the communication is necessary to increase engagement. It’s important to have a fluent and transparent communication, that includes talking when you don’t agree or when things can be done better. This will help you make clearer expectations of the feedback itself. Remember that there’s no need to wait for the monthly, semi-annual or annual meeting to express ideas or disagreements. (millennials will thank you).
–Establish your meeting routine: Depending on business’ operation type there will be variations; however weekly meetings with all your team and monthly meetings with each member separately, are indispensable. This monthly meeting is ideal to review how the person is and give feedback. Remember that this is two ways. Question: As a boss, what else can I do for you to achieve your goals?
– Straight to the point. Be direct but talk about behaviors, not about the person: Remember that we all value transparency; more so if there are millennials on your team. Be precise with the day and context, remove the emotional charge, keep your tone of voice neutral and highlight the positive only if it is very necessary. For example: “this morning you arrived 30 minutes late to our meeting”, “the project did not have the variables that we agreed to in the contract”, or, “your presentation this morning had key information for sales, it was long, but it helped us a lot. Next time you could delete the comparison and add an analysis of … “
– Show that you are genuinely worried about their growth: When a team member makes a mistake, it’s normal to worry about the whole team´s work credibility; But this should not be a trigger for feedback and you’ll inhibit proactivity. It’s necessary to create the conditions for people to try new alternatives and that mistakes are part of growth and learning. When feedback shows that the goal is to strengthen their skills. For example: recognizing that we are not perfect and that we’ve all had the opportunity to receive feedback to grow, is a good start.
If you must give negative feedback and ‘decorate’ it, you’ll confuse people. It’s better to be firm, keep your position, message and always focus on the person´s behavior, not the person itself. Your job as a boss is also to help your team increase their self-confidence. No one said that being a leader was easy.
Ingrid Medina is the facilitator of the ‘Women in Leadership program, Team management in times of change’. She has been director of Human Resources in multinationals and has specialized in the management of talent, culture and inclusion, as well as in advising entrepreneurs in their management and productivity processes.
If you wish further information, make sure to follow her on LinkedIn.