- Specific - be detailed about the feedback that you are giving so that the receiver understands exactly what it that you are looking for. Do not just say "You did a great job," but give specifics about what was so great.
- Timely - give the feedback right after the event and/or soon thereafter. Make sure it is done in the appropriate venue (e.g. - praise publicly, criticize privately) and the appropriate medium (e.g. - in person, via email) so that it is the most effective for the person to hear the feedback.
- Limited - give feedback as it arises instead of holding a bunch of items for discussion at one time.
- Empathetic - give feedback that acknowledges emotions, understands what may be going on for the person at that particular time, and is sympathetic to wanting to help the other person improve.
As a leader giving feedback is important to growing and developing your people. It is also important in effectively creating successful end products as well as in setting boundaries for business relationships. We have all gotten feedback that has not been effective, right. What is an effective way to give feedback then?
A huge part of communications is receiving feedback. Often we can push out information as leaders based upon decisions that were made or the vision that we are moving towards, but how often do we solicit people's opinions on our direction or communications? The more that we ask for input and comments the more that people feel like they are part of the process, and therefore the more bought in they are to the solution. In change management this is a key way to ensure that the organization feels a part of the change effort and wants to accept it in the end.
From a leadership development perspective feedback is also key in providing us with insights into how other's perceive us. And we all know that perceptions are reality. I have recently been coaching many leaders through their 360 assessment feedback results. On these assessments they received feedback from their boss, their peers, and their direct reports. In some cases the leaders perceptions and those of the raters were similar, whereas in others there were big gaps where we had to pay attention. For those were areas where the leader could develop for they had a blind spot.
Are you receiving enough feedback from your organization? Are you asking for feedback as you are making decisions? Where would getting feedback support you as a leader?
Have you ever had somebody not pay attention to you while you were talking? How did it feel? As a leader it is very important to really listen to your employees in order for them to feel like they are heard, valued, and understood. Your employees are your most important assets and effective communications entails really listening to what is on their minds. How do you ensure that you are exhibiting good listening skills?
Effective communications is an important aspect of leadership if not one of the most important. Communications is a way to inform others of your values, goals, and beliefs, solicit information, and gain trust through transparency and honesty. But in order to really communicate effectively one of the most important aspects is understanding your audience and tailoring your message to them.
Knowing who your audience is can be key because it forces you to understand what their role is, what is important to them, and how they like to hear information. By doing enough research and data gathering on the audience(s) that you are wanting to communicate to prepares you to then organize your thoughts in a way that most effectively can inform that particular audience of what it is that you want them to know.
For example if I am talking to my customers about the services I am offering to them vs. my suppliers who I am getting input to my services I would speak to them in two different ways. Who are your audiences? How can you tailor your message most effectively to each audience group?
Monica Thakrar has over 18 years experience in business focused mainly on strategy, change management, leadership development, training and coaching resulting in successful implementations of large scale transformation programs.