Most leaders have their annual performance reviews with their employees. This is meant to cover appreciation and acknowledgement, track improvements and somehow improve performance. But a yearly review isn’t enough to make your employees engaged in the organization’s purpose. Regular feedbacks leads to gratification, identity, open dialogues, values and virtues, and concrete problem solving among many other things. If you want engaged employees, you should be engaged in them – and regular feedback is a way to be engaged in your employees. I’m not talking about formal feedback, but useful and regular feedbacks which will engage the employees in the organization’s purpose.
Make it regular as a part of the culture
In my experience, most leaders skip frequent conversations with their employees because they find their time to be too valuable. Yet, frequent conversations with your employees will indeed create more time for you as a leader. Well, the dialogues and conversations take long time, but your path towards the purpose is aligned because of the frequent conversations, so the corrections will be a time saver at the end. Ideally, the employees should start conversations about ideas, innovations and improvement on the organization by themselves.
This should happen often, not just when feedback is scheduled and formal. The entire organizational culture should be based on regular feedbacks – either daily or weekly, and you should act on them!
How to give a proper feedback, which is useful
Some are good at giving feedback, others have a hard time doing it, but we all have tried to get the necessary feedback (read: necessary and not usable feedback or formal feedback). I will define the necessary feedback as the one we are required to give because it is a part of the annual performance review or similar, and we must find something to say – not the natural feedback. However, feedback is only a good thing if it’s useful. We all know the feeling with all the notes and feedbacks we have been given at a seminar where it was necessary, and they end up in a notebook and you’ll never look at them again.
So, make sure your feedback is useful. Don’t say anything if it isn’t useful. Useful means realistic and simple, and with suggestions so our colleague or employee knows what to do from here. But most importantly, make sure it fits both the employee and the organization’s purpose.
No matter how often and natural conversations you strive to have with your employees, your feedback should always be given from an organization’s point of view while your approach should be personal. Understand who the person sitting in front of you is. My boss, whom I’ve chosen to be my boss, understand that being a millennial, I need GPS management. This means the approach is personal, but the feedback is given from the point of the organization. Personal means, you should know how to deliver the feedback and has nothing to do with private. A personal approach is more than a template and formality, it’s also about how the employees mind pattern is and how to deliver the feedback.
Here are some few tips on what to remember when starting to integrate regular feedbacks:
- Decide whether you’re a coach or a mentor. There’s a difference, and it’s important to know what you are in situational leadership. A mentor is advising, and a coach asks questions and guides the employee to seek answers themselves.
- Without being subjective try to tell what you have observed, what have you seen, heard and what are the facts, and how does that make you feel? Remember the feedback is from organizational point of view.
- How do I think the other one will experience it and understand it? We all are different, and a good leader knows and understands his employees and that we’re not the same. Make sure to deliver the feedback correctly to the receiver.
- Have suggestions to actions and think “what would I do instead”? Remember to value, that the employee knows what she’s doing, but maybe there something you can help with, when suggested another thing. Read Puk’s article on, how she leads another youngster.
- What are you striving to achieve together? How does it fit into the organizations purpose and do you know the purpose of the organization? If not, I recommend Tool: How to create your organizations WHY?
If you’re looking for a tool on how to give useful feedbacks to develop skills and improve competences, we recommend the Pizza Model.