Providing Performance feedback

Many managers are derelict in providing performance feedback, especially when it’s negative. Like most of us, managers don’t particularly enjoy communicating bad news. They fear offending the other person or having to deal with the recipient’s defensiveness. Nevertheless, providing performance feedback is an important part of effective employee communication.

A superior or a manager can be more effective at providing feedback if he uses the following suggestions:

Focus on specific behaviors:
Feedback should be specific rather than general. Avoid such statements as “You have a bad attitude� or “I’m really impressed with the good job you did�. They’re vague and although they provide information, they don’t tell the recipient enough to correct the “bad attitude� or on what basis his boss concluded that a “good job� had been done so the person knows what behaviors to repeat or to avoid.

Keep feedback impersonal:
Feedback, particularly the negative kind, should be descriptive rather than judgmental or evaluation. No matter how upset the superior is, he should keep the feedback focused on job-related behaviors, and never criticize someone personally because of an inappropriate action.

Keep feedback goal-oriented:
Feedback should not be given primarily to “blow off steam� or “unload’ on another person. If the manager has to say something negative he must make sure it’s directed toward the recipient’s goals. The feedback is supposed to help the person receiving the feedback. If the feedback is helping the superior then undermines your credibility and lessens the meaning and influences of future feedback.

Make feedback well timed:
Feedback is most meaningful to a recipient when there’s a very short interval between his or her behavior and the receipt of feedback about that behavior. Moreover, if the boss is particularly concerned with changing behavior, delays in providing feedback on the undesirable actions lessen the likelihood that the feedback will be effective in bringing about the desired change. Of course, making feedback prompt merely for the sake of promptness can backfire if the manager or superior has insufficient information. If the superior is angry or otherwise emotionally upset the feedback given in such instances, “well timed� could mean “somewhat delayed.�

Ensure understanding:
Make sure your feedback is concise and complete so that the recipient understands it clearly for making improvements in his work area.

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