November 13, 2017

101:Offering feedback

Though we have touched on this topic before in this space, it's importance to revisit – plus, new findings on best implementation practices are constantly evolving. The 2012 research paper "Tell Me What I Did Wrong" by S.R. Finkelstein and A. Fishbach, for instance, dispels the age-old idea that a "feedback sandwich," or buffering what could be perceived as negative feedback with positive accolades, is effective. Instead, they found, employees tend to only hear the positive remarks, not the ones they need to build upon to improve.

Follow up. It seems obvious, but when managers don't circle back around with that team member who received feedback, effectiveness is greatly diminished, says Jacob Shriar at "The feedback is pretty pointless unless the employee improves and gets better at what they do, so make sure to … see how it's going."

Major errors call for deep breaths. When there is an obvious large ball dropped at work, try and resist pointing out the obvious: They messed up, says Scott Halford at "Start by asking his or her perspective on the situation," he advises. "Ask if he or she understands everything you expect. Inform the person … you're there to help him or her succeed."

Do not assume they know. The American Management Association website cites a publication by Gary S. Topchik in an article advocating the importance of feedback. Many managers don't mean to give their team members the silent treatment, but do it anyway. "They think their team members already know when they are doing well or when there are problems. Or they think feedback will have little effect on performance," the article states. "But many team members do not know where there are problems … It's unfair to employees to prejudge their response to feedback," the article notes.


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