Let's look at the detail of giving feedback. Whether you
want to reinforce behaviour - Confirming feedback or change
unacceptable behaviour - Productive feedback, there are
certain steps you need to follow to make it work.
1. Do it ASAP - When you see or hear something you do or
don't like you need to say something right away. If it's
Confirming feedback it's not much use saying something
months later. - "I liked the way you handled that difficult
customer a couple of months ago Dave." Dave is going to have
a bit of a problem remembering that situation and the effect
of the feedback is totally wasted.
It also makes sense to give Dave Productive feedback as soon
as you see or hear something you don't like. If you don't do
it right away then Dave will assume that you didn't notice
or that it doesn't matter or that you don't care.
2. Do it in private - This seems like the most obvious thing
to say but I still see managers giving a member of their
team some Productive feedback in front of other people be
they colleagues or customers. Of course, it's usually more
of a reprimand.
I think some managers believe that if they're seen and heard
giving some feedback then it will have an effect on the
other team members - you bet it will - it'll totally de-
3. Check that it's okay to speak - Always check that it's
okay to speak. If one of your team has just finished
speaking to a customer on the phone, they might have some
admin things to do before they forget. If you interrupt then
you risk being responsible for a customer not getting
something they were promised.
It's only good manners to check before speaking and your
people will respect you for it.
4. Announce your intentions - If your people are not used to
receiving regular feedback, what do you think runs through
their mind when you pull up a chair or ring them on the
phone - your right - they think it's bad news, that they've
done something wrong or there's a problem.
It's important therefore to tell them up front what you want
to speak about.
You might say - "Jill, I've just read your last report and
I'd like to give you some good news." You then go on to give
them some Confirming feedback - and remember to make it
5. Tell them how YOU feel about their behaviour - Your
people work for the same organisation as you but it's you
they have to please. So make sure when you give feedback -
it comes from you. That means not saying things like - "The
company doesn't like their employees to speak to customers
like that." Or - "It's not up to me but you'd better improve
your performance or you'll be in trouble."
You need to use lots of "I" messages. Get personally
involved, say things like - "I liked the way you told that
customer that you would deal with their problem yourself."
Or - "I'm unhappy with the way to told that customer that it
wasn't your responsibility." Or - "I believe there's another
way to do that job."
6. Focus on one thing at a time - Don't confuse your team
member with a whole list of behaviours. If it's Confirming
feedback then you don't want to be saying - "I like the way
you handle customers and your reports are always done on
time and it's great that you're achieving your target."
You're only diluting the whole feedback and it loses its
If you're giving Productive feedback then you don't want to
confuse your team member with a whole catalogue of
behaviours that you're unhappy about. Sadly this seems to be
the case with managers who don't give feedback on poor
behaviour immediately. They allow things to go on and on and
then they eventually explode. It's much better to deal with
behaviour as and when it happens.
7. Be specific - When you are giving one of your team some
feedback and coaching them - it's so important to focus on
job related behaviour and not on the personality of the
If you feel a bit uncomfortable giving feedback, try to
focus on the person's behaviour on the job in terms of how
they conducted a particular task. That's what you're giving
feedback on, not them as a person.
It becomes easier if you're using "I" messages and being
very descriptive about what you've seen or heard. You could
say something like - "I liked the way you tided up the
workshop after you finished that job - thank you Fred."
You're trying to get the balance between being human but
8. Include the customer and the organisation - Whenever
appropriate -relate what your feedback is about to how the
customer was affected. This of course could be an internal
or an external customer. You could also relate it to how the
organisation was affected, if relevant
9. Get input - When giving Productive feedback, it's
important to get the team members input. You might say -
"I'm unhappy that this is the third time this month that
your report has been late Joanne. However I'm willing to
listen to what you have to say and discuss how we can
resolve this situation."
10. Don't leave them low - This is particularly important
after giving Productive feedback. As I said earlier, this
isn't an attack on the person; it's about job related
behaviour. A team member should come out of a Productive
feedback session with their sense of self-worth intact.
Discover how you can generate more business by motivating
Alan Fairweather is the author of "How to get More Sales
by Motivating Your Team" This book is packed with practical
things you can do to get the best out of your people.
Click here now http://www.howtogetmoresales.com