01 May The Importance of Quality Feedback
One of the key differentiators between effective and ineffective managers and leaders is how they give feedback. Good bosses give valuable feedback which helps to build positive relationships among their teams. But giving feedback (both praise and constructive criticism) is an area where many struggle, particularly knowing how much feedback to give and how to give useful feedback to improve the direct report’s work product.
Some managers just shy away from tough conversations, subconsciously hoping the problem will resolve itself. Other managers just don’t know when to chill. From the employee side, it’s not always easy to find out they are not performing at the level expected. So how the feedback is given is critical.
Let’s start with timing. A common frustration is the amount of feedback people get from their managers. A PI study of manager effectiveness found key differences between effective and poorer managers.
Employees who reported having “bad managers” say:
- they get some feedback, but not as much as they’d like 42%
- they don’t get any feedback 38%
- they get way too much feedback 9%
- they get a little more feedback than they’d like 6%
- they get just the right amount of feedback 5%
Whereas employees who said they have “great managers” say:
- they get just the right amount of feedback 77%
- they get some feedback, but not as much as they’d like 15%
- they get a little more feedback than they’d like 5%
- they don’t get any feedback 2%
- they get way too much feedback 1%
If you’re a manager and you’re not sure how much feedback your team members want, here’s a tip. Just ask. Don’t guess. It’s better to get their feedback on how much feedback they need!
Business Results recommends leaders at all levels provide ongoing coaching and feedback to help people learn or improve both soft and hard skills that they can use as they grow in their careers. Feedback should and can be both positive and negative, but needs to be given ongoing.
Employee feedback should be clearly articulated, focused on their work. If the manager is also able to relate the work output to the impacts on their team, and the company’s long-term goals and organization’s values, that can also help people understand how their individual work helps people more broadly in the community or the end-user (customers). If there’s a performance issue, don’t wait and let it worsen. Address it right away.
All feedback, whether praise or addressing an issue (constructively, of course!) should be done individually in a private meeting. Make sure the employee knows what is going to be discussed and allow them an opportunity to ask questions or to think about the feedback and follow up with any questions later. Finally, these feedback meetings don’t always have to be hourlong meetings, but do make the time to have these conversations regularly.