Giving your Employees Constructive Feedback

You’re a hard worker. You like things done on time and done well.
So when someone you work with keeps turning in sloppy pieces of work, it grinds your gears. Giving your employees constructive feedback might be tough.

You might not look forward to sitting down and talking to someone turning in low quality work. But it’s important to do so with respect and also on time, if you care about you and your team’s success.

For supervisors, here are some tips for handling this conversation with ease and direct constructive feedback.

Address It Early (and in Private)

It is better to address as soon as you can so as not to affect future work, and the employee can start improving. Addressing it earlier rather than later also allows you to have a more informal chat. As opposed to a serious, prolonged discussion. The first time it happens, you might just check-in to see if they were aware of what they’d done. Once it’s clear this isn’t a one-time fluke but a bigger performance issue, you’ll want to pull them aside to talk it out.

Reflect on the Person’s History

In preparation for your sit down, it’s key to gather some context.
Think about this employee’s past performance. Do they typically submit top-notch work, or has this happened before (and how many times)?

Finally, what’s this person’s personality? Are they open to constructive criticism, or do they tend to get defensive when pulled aside? Knowing how they’ve previously handled feedback will help you decide your strategy.

Consider Your Own Role

If you’re this person’s boss, it’s your job to support and guide them toward success. So if they’re struggling, ask yourself if there’s something you could be doing differently, too. If the reasons they’re having difficulty are more about their lack of support or skills to do the job, then you may need to adjust your expectations and level of guidance for future assignments.

Ask Thoughtful Questions

When you meet, you’ll want to probe a bit to get to the bottom of the situation—what’s going on, what they understand about their performance, why they’re making the decisions they’re making, and what their expectations are for the project. By letting them lead the conversation, they may also come to their own conclusion that something’s not quite right.
Actually, pay attention to and show interest in what the person’s telling you in response to these questions. By showing you’re taking their answers seriously, they’re more likely to feel more comfortable opening up and taking feedback—now and later on.

Keep an Eye on Their Progress

But give them the chance to prove themselves. More importantly, if their sloppiness continues, you’ll need to make it clear there are consequences to their actions. Whether that’s being put on a performance improvement plan or getting let go.

If they immediately start to show improvement on a small scale, acknowledge that. Compliments and positive reinforcements will encourage the person to keep up the good work. Thus, making your job that much easier.

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