If you're an effective leader, you know that waiting for the annual review to give your employee feedback is an utter waste of time. Ongoing, in-the-moment feedback is the best way to provide your employees with information that
allows them to be dynamic and adaptive in a fluid marketplace.
- Don't wait. Give your employees feedback in real time so they can quickly apply your insights. In some cases, it's helpful to pull the person aside on the same day for a quick chat so the example - and all of its factors - is fresh in both your minds. At the very least you should already be meeting one-on-one on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. Beyond two weeks, the information is as stale and useless as old bread. Speaking of bread...
- Skip the sandwich. I was brought up on the theory of the "compliment sandwich" - start by complimenting the person, give the feedback, end by complimenting the person. It's crap advice. Guess what that person will remember when you walk out the door? The last thing you said - which was not the point of the conversation. Instead, be direct; good employees know you have their best interest at heart.
- Be concise. Present the facts, provide an example, discuss ways to improve the observed performance. Saying, "your meetings are ineffective" opens the door for a wide, rambling - and unproductive - discussion. Instead: "your meetings do not have agendas, they start late, run long, and involve people that do not need to be there." Now you're talking about things that be easily pointed to and addressed.
Interested in learning more about effective feedback? Try Crucial Conversations - Tools for Talking When Stakes are High - its filled with strategies, plans, and suggestions for those critical moments.