Constructive feedback | BCBusiness

Constructive feedback | BCBusiness

We ask our workplace guru Baldev Gill—COO of the B.C. Human Resources Management Association—how to give good feedback

1. Stick to the point: Sometimes managers confuse the message. “They want to talk about, let’s say, tardiness, and then they throw out two or three other things that have caused them some heartburn about that person,” says Gill. Make sure to stay objective and focus on a specific event or issue.

2. Listen to the other side: As a manager, you need to understand your employee’s rationale when something goes awry. As much as managers are fond of giving feedback, some just don’t want to hear any in return. “If you feel threatened by it, then people will clam up and they won’t give that information or feedback to you,” says Gill, “but if you embrace it, there’s an opportunity to get better as a manager, because I think it works both ways.”

3. Avoid delay: A common mistake is waiting too long to provide feedback, says Gill. Feedback is more relevant and useful if it’s given in a timely fashion. “I think that if it’s negative feedback, you may want to wait until you’ve calmed down—not three weeks, but you might want to wait a day.”

4. Share the praise: Recognize a job well done in person, then follow it up with an email to the rest of the staff. “It’s also important to inform those that may not be part of your team that this person or team has done a very good job…. It has to resonate within the office too.”

5. Contain negativity: Negative feedback in public is not only demoralizing for the recipient but also for bystanders. Try to deliver it in a closed-door meeting and make sure you’re not emotional. “I’ll go for a coffee, then I’ll come back after I’ve contained my thoughts and I’m objective and not using words that are hurtful but more constructive,” says Gill.