When it comes to success, the growth and overall development of a person is the highest calling of leadership. Our growth both personally and professionally depends on our ability to internalize your strengths and weaknesses and plan strategically and objectively for various ways of improvement.
As a business leader, one of the most critical skills about the job will be your ability to give strong and constructive feedback to your employees. Entrepreneurs and leaders have a sense where they want to go and how they want to get there. In order for you to achieve these intrinsic business goals, you have to make sure everyone is on the same page. To do this, you as a business leader will need to provide a developmental conversation. This is a particular conversation that focuses on the skills, capabilities, and attitudes of those around you. It is, in itself, similar to that of an employee evaluation, but still implies a bit of direction and improvement for the betterment of their growth.
But before I continue, I have to speak loudly to the beneficial effects of how strong purposeful feedback can be on an employee. To start, we have to understand and internalize that strong positive feedback is not one that points out the strengths and flaws of a worker. Instead, it often involves having some fundamental objective within the course of the conversation. At any notion, it helps to outline the principles and philosophies of their goals and that of your company. In addition, it very much helps sets up a plan that can track and follow a person’s progress.
As beneficial as it is, many employees and workers are oftentimes hesitant to have these conversations. One of the thorniest aspects of giving this level of critical feedback is that many people feel that they are in the hot seat when it comes to these situations. As frustrating as it can be, having these conversations is an integral part of your growth as a professional within said-field. To optimistically think you are performing at a high ability may be great confidence-wise, but to overlooking areas where you can improve will be one of the biggest hurdles in reaching ay type of success. In addition to the employee’s personal feels, some of the problems of constructive feedback can oftentimes fall on you where many of your comments can be vague and unspecific. When you are giving feedback, do not speak in generalities. Instead, provide specific examples within their day-to-day. Highlight moments where they have succeeded and areas where they can improve for the better. The more clear and precise you are, the better.
Now, as stated above, constructive feedback is very similar to an employee evaluation. Do not make the mistake of not explaining the consequences. Good managers and business leaders are clear about potential consequences if problems are not fixed. Make sure you explain these consequences. Yes, this can build tensions and anxiety for the individual. But if they are unclear about their work or the extreme consequences that can lead to their lack of progress, you will be doing them a disservice as a leader. While it is probably the toughest part of the job as a manager, it is absolutely necessary if you want to see change.
So the question comes down to this: How can you give strong and constructive feedback to your employees?
When giving constructive feedback start with a goal. Every employee works differently and each individual person has their own personal and professional strengths and weaknesses. Because every conversation will be different, make sure you outline a specific and unique goal that they can work on. This can be a positive goal where you want to see them in a more leadership position or a more concerning goal where you need to see progress and consistency. Whatever is the case, make sure that is the one thing they can walk out of when the conversation is over.
Now, as hard as these conversations may be, you want to understand that it is not about the character; it is about the behavior and the work. Many employees in this situation feel that they are personally being attacked. To avoid that type of negativity, tailor the conversation more towards their work. At the bottom line, you need to think about the bigger picture. In order for you and your company to reach their goals, they need to improve their work ethics so that every party can see benefit from the progress.
To help with this process, make sure you are specific as possible. Do not generalize when it comes to your feedback. Be specific and use concrete examples to make your points. Now, when it comes to your goals, try not to ask for too much. Witnessing a day-and-night situation is incredibly rare. Instead, set realistic tangible goals. The worst thing you can do is overwhelming them to a point where they are unable to work. This is a progress. With your guidance, you will be able to shape and cultivate them into a better professional.
That leads me to my last point; make sure you show them your support. Supplying feedback and suggesting a course of action can come off as authoritative. To alleviate the talks, create a plan and follow up with various conversations and steps of how ‘you’ can help them develop within the field.