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Managers are well aware of the existence of feedback. Employees are no strangers to it either. But what is feedback, and why is it essential?

A key role of a manager is to monitor the work of team members, and then support and coach them towards improved performance. Doing this includes providing team members with feedback. It’s a good symbiosis that works, or at least it should.

However, it often doesn’t. Employees usually hate getting feedback. Rarely do managers focus on the positive, though that should be the norm. They only focus on what the employees are doing wrong and strive to get them to improve.

Employees don’t like hearing that criticism, even though it may be right. Feedback can be tough to hear, but it must also be heard, and even more importantly, acted upon.

The real problem here is that neither employees nor managers genuinely grasp the importance two-way communication. That’s especially true with managers who don’t do enough to get the employees to actually do something based on the coaching they have received. As a result, managers end up ordering them to do things that don’t really help employees improve, let alone get them to want to improve. This form of communication only demotivates them, and it turns out to be counterproductive.

What Does the Research Say?

According to Gallup, only around 10% of employees who were left with negative feelings from their manager’s feedback actually ended up being more engaged. What’s more, 30% of these employees say that they started actively looking for a different job.

On the other end of the spectrum, employees who got feedback that left them with positive feelings became almost four times more likely to stay engaged. What’s more, only 3.6% of them ended up searching for different employment.

Now, these numbers don’t necessarily mean that positive feedback is useful feedback. Positive feedback alone won’t do much if the manager doesn’t also adequately explain to the employee how and why they need to improve specific areas of their work.

How to Give Effective Feedback

Effective Managers is of the opinion that feedback is vital. It’s one of the five key requirements of effective managing.

However, that feedback still needs to be effective, and a significant portion of today’s managers don’t know how to give such feedback.

First of all, a manager needs to establish feedback loops with each individual subordinates and with the team as a whole. Furthermore, they have to make sure they are providing teh right information in the right way. That means that you need to start with the wins. It’s vital to inspire your employees because you don’t want them to get those negative feelings we discussed.

Then the critical thing you need to do is to be specific. If you just tell them that their work is mediocre, you won’t be doing a service to anyone. You need to be specific as to where you see any problem lies and offer ways to fix those problems.

By doing that, you’ll leave your subordinates wanting to improve, and that’s the primary outcome managers are looking to inspire. Also, these conversations need to be frequent. Coaching only work if they repeat as often as they need to. That way, you’ll ensure you touch upon the problems again and make sure that they were fixed.

If you want to learn more about feedback loops and how they can improve your employees’ performance, visit Effective Managers.