We have talked quite a bit about the importance of delivering feedback to your employees. Effective feedback is essential when it comes to developing top-notch employees and teams.
But that doesn’t mean it’s easy, and sometimes it can lead to employees with hurt feelings or bruised egos.
Several of my clients recently faced such a challenge, so today I thought that I would share my thoughts on the matter with you. Specifically, the question I was asked was “how can I get the employee ‘back in the fold’ after delivering tough but necessary feedback?”
I have four specific recommendations— the first two which must be implemented during the feedback session.
Explain to your employee that you are sharing feedback specifically because you care about them and want them to succeed. Critical feedback can often feel like a personal attack—so make it clear that your motivation is ultimately to help your employee become more skilled and more successful. Explain that if you didn’t care about them, you wouldn’t have brought the issue up to begin with.
End the conversation by focusing on the future. At the end of your conversation, put the past completely in the past. Discuss the path forward—what you expect from your employee, the benefits he or she can expect from doing so, and so on. It’s important to end the meeting on a positive, optimistic, forward-looking note, as that minimizes the chances of your employee sulking and developing a negative mindset.
Acknowledge progress. After delivering your feedback, keep a close eye on the employee and look for opportunities to encourage him. It is important that your employee’s hard work be recognized. It is never easy to break old habits and step outside of one’s comfort zone—so be encouraging and let the employee know you appreciate his efforts.
Demonstrate your trust. Often, an employee who has just received tough feedback will feel like he’s “in the doghouse.” Prove that this isn’t the case by giving the employee a new task, project, or responsibility whenever you have an opportunity. Don’t just tell the employee that you appreciate their hard work and their dedication—back it up with actions!
Giving feedback is essential. But it really can upset your employees, so keep these steps in mind the next time you’ve got tough feedback to deliver.