How To Give Tough Feedback

How To Give Tough Feedback

Nobody likes those difficult, troublesome conversations – but they are all part of the manager’s role.

There are very few of us who would look forward to them or even say that they are an accepted part of the job yet the skill of handling those conversations often sets successful managers apart from those who are less successful.

These can be made easier by following the following rules:

  1. Clearly define and set the employee’s and your expectations up-front. If you are transparent about what is about to be said then all parties are aware of what is coming along in the conversation. Employees develop through time and the conversation at an Appraisal needs to reflect the fact that staff do not move from star performers to problem children overnight. Make sure that everyone knows what is expected of them so that the number of unpleasant conversations is kept to a minimum. Be clear on what improvements are needed and why, what support they can expect and what measurements will be being taken on their performance.
  2. Give regular, ongoing feedback. Never save up all your concerns for the Annual Appraisal by which time it is far too late for the individual member of staff to do anything positive about turning around their outputs and performance.
  3. It is all about the task/output, not the person. Make sure that there are no personal issues/dislikes creeping not the process and always keep it objective.
  4. Write a plan with key dates where performance an be reviewed and accurate and objective feedback provided on performance against plan. By keeping an accurate understanding of where both sides are at any point in time reduces that risk of the uncomfortable, confrontational and difficult chat that nobody wants!

Addressing a serious behaviour or performance issue is never going to be easy as is delivering bad news or an unpleasant surprise to the individual concerned – the trick here is to make the situation less difficult in the first place.

Good Luck!

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