“Giving feedback” is a great tool or means to communicate your views about other’s performance. But most in every walk of life, especially corporates, mess up with it, rather than making it pleasant and purposeful! Let us look at how feedback from a supervisor to subordinate can be conducted to make it congenial for both; particularly if it happens to be adverse.
Take a pause and ponder over the purpose
Most mistakes happen for lack of understanding and sticking to the purpose for doing a thing! Hence, it is of utmost importance that you remind yourself of following tenets of a feedback.
If you are a supervisor
- You have a responsibility to understand and evaluate performance of your sub-ordinate fairly.
- Set goals for each employee, which are measurable as far as possible and lay down your expectations in writing.
Maintain concise record of +/- deviations in performance of your team members on a regular basis.
This is very important; so never dilute it!
- Go beyond biases and emotions against subordinate.
It is not easy; but keep doing it.
- Remind yourself that you are sitting on destiny of someone, who has a family to support. You can make or mar it!
- Feedback is essentially meant to articulate your assessment in the manner that recipient can relate and register it and help him/her to improve; under no case it is meant for reprimanding or retribution!
If you correctly comprehend the above, you would realize that it is something, which would also help you immensely to develop your leadership skills!
If you are a subordinate
- Your endeavors should be to align what you do to meet the goals set and expectations of your supervisor.
Don’t ignore or undermine importance of above.
- You are an examinee, who should be interested in knowing result of your performance. You should definitely make your self-assessment; but be clear that you are not entitled to give actual marks to self. That is the job of examiner i.e. your supervisor.
- Treat feedback as extremely valuable tool to learn direction of your efforts.
If it is good, then your direction is right. If it is not, you have to know what is right and change your track and gears accordingly.
Be offbeat and break off from traditional methods
Research shows that conventional methods of giving feedback don’t bring great results and trigger a change. These actually bring lot of maladies. Here below is what you can:
- Feedback should be as frequent as you feel the need to help improve performance of your team; but any case not less than twice a year.
Avoid blunder of timing it with annual wage increases and promotions.
- Take away the hype around feedback. It should be life as usual.
- Before calling a team member for feedback session, ask him/her (now onward, he/his has been used without any gender bias) to do self-assessment.
- As supervisor:
- Don’t jump straight into feedback discussion; ask subordinate how he is doing and make him comfortable.
- Ask employee to tell you about his self-assessment and listen to him carefully and take down your notes.
- Then tell employee you now want to share your thoughts, however adverse or good these may be, and help him to improve.
- In self-assessment, if employee has presented a picture that everything is hunky-dory with his performance contrary to your assessment, then advise him:
- What are the gaps you see and cite some examples.
- Do not be critical; but be candid.
- If employee goes offensive or defensive, give him patient hearing.
Normal tendency of an employee in such a case is to pass buck to anything else; except self.
- If employee’s arguments make sense, be prompt to accept (but then you need to focus on quality of your own assessment or flaw in system which is feeding information to you).
- But, usually when one is offensive or defensive, there exist deficiencies!
So, you have an opportunity to coach him that how attitude to lay blame elsewhere by itself is crux of problem and prevents him to perform well. Now, give direction how he can improve.
- If employee agrees with your assessment effortlessly, compliment him handsomely. Such employees have best possibility to change.
- Include your views on employee’s sincerity, focus, dedication, diligence and other personal qualities with advice how to improve or strengthen same.
- Demonstrate your commitment to reward employees commensurate with results they show.
This way, you would be free from conflicts during feedback session, establish your credibility, enhance employee’s values and upgrade your own leadership skills!