By: Shawna Laird-Brush, Business Manager
As a Director, Manager, Supervisor, or Team Lead, part of our duties include evaluating and providing feedback to employees. No one wants to alienate an employee when giving critiques because it can lead to problems in the short and long term. Follow these simple rules to provide helpful and constructive criticism.
Do Not Focus Solely on the Improvements
Use the Feedback Sandwich method: 1) Talk about their strengths; 2) Share areas of improvement; and 3) Share positive results if areas have been previously addressed. Before you start on the "bad things," let them know you appreciate their good. Everyone likes to be acknowledged for the hard work or as a great team player instead going straight to the negative. Always end on a positive note, if possible. Show them you appreciate the progress they have made on earlier suggestions of improvements.
Do Not Let It Become Personal
You don't want to attack the person and put them on the defensive. Doing so will only make matters worse and compromise any chance you have of them listening to you. Focus more on the situation, and not the person.
Do Not Be Vague in Your Feedback
You will want to be specific in your feedback. And the more specific the better. Instead of saying "you need to be nicer," speak to them about a specific problem - i.e. tone of voice when talking to a customer, or being impatient with the parts department. The better understanding they have of the issue, the more they will be likely to improve upon it.
Do Not Talk About Things Which Can't Be Changed
Comment on things which can be actioned upon. If something is taking too long, but they are following policy or procedure, then there isn't anything they can do immediately to improve. If it is taking too long because of another reason, then suggest they cut down on the number of trips to parts department or IT by combining trips and requests.
Do Not Just Critique
You need to be helpful as well. Give recommendations on how to improve instead of just telling them to improve. They may need gentle guidance because they may not know they are doing it or how to improve upon what they are doing.
Do Not Make Assumptions
Focus on what you see and not what you think you know. Perceptions and assumptions are formed from rumors or complaints, but may not necessarily be the truth. Review their work and interactions before commenting on it.