Giving Feedback

Providing time-sensitive feedback to help someone learn and improve.

Employees and managers the world over dread this ritual and therein lays the main problem: we have institutionalized the giving and receiving of feedback. We save up our comments and document all the things we note about a person's performance. And then, like a big cat ready to pounce, the manager brings a hapless employee into the office and springs a year's worth of "constructive criticism" onto him or her.

No wonder why this process is so unnerving and fear provoking. This is exactly the wrong emotional environment in which to discuss performance, introduce suggestions for improvement, and talk about goals for the future. This is a shame, because giving and receiving feedback is key to engaging your people and keeping them on track.

When done in the right way and with the right intentions, feedback can lead to outstanding performance. Employees have to know what they are doing well and not so well. For them to really hear your thoughts and suggestions on ways to improve, though, that feedback has to be delivered carefully and frequently.