If you are a manager or someone responsible for the development of others, when is the last time you gave those people any feedback? I don’t mean the ‘good job’ or ‘atta boy’, but real, constructive feedback based on those person’s behaviors dealing with certain events @ work?
As a Manager, feedback is a critical component to aid in the personal and professional growth of your members. We probably all realize the importance of this role, but giving feedback, especially when it is to offer improvement is not easy for many managers to do. In this post I offer my suggestions on how to give feedback, but as always would like to get your thoughts and methods used to kaizen my own processes.
5 Step Process to Giving Feedback
1. Make it timely – you want to strike while the iron is hot. For example, if you recognize that your team member was spending time on their laptop and not paying attention during your section meeting, you should prepare to give feedback right after the meeting is concluded. Don’t wait for your next 1 on 1 or for the behavior to happen again. As Nike says “Just do it”. Waiting puts additional pressure on yourself because you know you need to do something about that member’s behavior, but you are waiting for the next perfect opportunity and waiting too long could result in the team member not recalling the situation as clearly due to the gap since the behavior was recognized.
2. Approach with a question – always, always, always ask for permission to give the team member feedback. You should do every time when giving positive reinforcement or coaching direction. You want to ensure the team member is ready to discuss what you have to say. Giving feedback isn’t about using your authority, rather more about seeing eye to eye and having very open coversations.
3. Be specific with examples – This is the crux of your feedback. Emphasis needs to be placed on the behaviors. Based on the previous example above of the team member working on the laptop during the meeting, your feedback should be specific to how that behavior impacts himself and others around him. For instance, the feedback may go something like this…when you work on your laptop in the section meeting, it looks as if you don’t care and that the updates others are sharing on their projects is not important to you. That is just one potential impact caused by that type of behavior, there could be many others. The key here is that you are focused on the behavior, not the action.
4. Listen – be ready to listen because after giving the feedback to the team member and discussing about the observed behaviors, you will want to find out how the team member plans to address the situation. Instead of dictating what is going to happen, find out what the team member is thinking and guide their development based on the end state you want them to reach.
5. Follow up / PDCA – Working @ Toyota you realize quickly that one key skill everyone must develop is Plan, Do, Check, Act or PDCA. This is the last step in the feedback process although it is equally important. If you recognize the need for feedback & determine when to give it (the Plan), address the observed behaviors and ask the team member how they will address it (the Do), but never follow up and see what progress is being made (the Check) then you’ve reduced the value of giving the feedback in the first place. You need to check with the team member in your one on one meetings and continue to guide them in the right direction (the Act) like I blogged about in an another post entitled Effective One on Ones @ Work.
Try out these steps, see how it goes, and post your reflection points back to the blog.