Open and clear communication is a vital component to any healthy, happy, and productive workplace. Because of this, you want to be certain that you’re getting the most out of your feedback – and that others are getting the most out of what you have to say.
Leave Emotion at the Door
Don’t go at an employee or manager because you’re angry or upset at their work - if you confront someone head-on with your emotions on the table, the first thing they’re going to do is respond with their own emotions. Any potential good advice or legitimate criticisms are going to be ignored and forgotten, which completely defeats the point of giving feedback in the first place!
Give Feedback for the Right Reasons
Ask yourself: why am I giving this employee feedback? Is it because you need to defend or excuse a failure to your own superior? Is it just because your office requires you to make monthly reports? These are baseless reasons to give feedback!
Make sure your feedback is framed with the right mindset; you’ll find you get way more out of it. Feedback should be designed to support and improve your employees’ skill sets, because you know you are ultimately responsible for their results and because you are genuinely trying to guide and help the person to whom you are giving feedback.
Give Feedback Regularly, and Do It Right!
Done right, employees will respond positively – very positively! – to regular feedback. But how do you “do feedback right”? Make the experience as positive as possible, especially if you are ultimately critiquing or criticizing something the employee has done.
Giving your employees constructive criticism in a positive manner and praising them for other aspects of their work will show them that you aren’t condemning them. It shows you see and appreciate all the hard work they do, even if there are some problem areas.
Drop Your Defenses
Receiving feedback can be nerve-wracking – especially if we’re receiving a criticism. Our brains are wired to make us feel threatened on a personal level when we receive criticism from others, that’s why we tend to become extremely defensive in response.
It can take a concentrated effort to change this automatic response, but it is absolutely worth it. Refraining from becoming defensive in the face of any feedback opens you up to truly hear what someone is really saying – and benefiting from it. At its worst, refusing to open up to receiving criticism can make us misinterpret feedback.
See Feedback as an Opportunity to Improve
Try to remember that constructive criticism is not an attack on you personally. If it is, then there’s an issue with the person giving you feedback! Instead, see feedback for what it’s meant to be: a way to address where your skills are weak or could use improvement.
Don’t let yourself get stuck in a fixed mindset – one that resists change, fears new ideas or challenges, and one that will end up plateauing your skill set over time. Develop a growing mindset that adapts with change and look for new ways to overcome challenges; this will help you feel happier and more engaged with your work in the long run.
Don’t just be a passive recipient when it comes to feedback! Ask for feedback often. The more feedback you get, the more likely you are to catch emerging problems. You’ll also get better at responding positively to feedback and criticism in the future.
The next time you’re giving or receiving feedback, don’t worry! Just remember to leave your emotions out of it, drop your defenses, and effectively communicate with one another. This way, any feedback will help you – and your business – grow.