Giving and Receiving Feedback
Oh yes, our favorite time of year is upon us. No I am not referring to the holiday season, but rather to the annual review process that most organizations are or will be going through soon. Why is this process met with such incredible angst? I believe the bottom line is that no one likes to feel judged and at the end of the day a review process just feels like that. I am not advocating that the review process is not necessary because it is for many reasons. For one, high performers need feedback. A common complaint from a majority of employees is that they do not get enough feedback from their manager. Therefore, the annual review is an opportunity to ensure that those conversations are occurring. The other thing that frustrates employees is the subjectivity of the review process. This is evident when inevitably there are managers that chronically rate all of their team members high, while others have a propensity for rating everyone lower. So how can we make this process less painful? Below are some tips to keep in mind to effectively deliver feedback and receive it. Remember this is a two way process.
Top 10 Tips for Giving Feedback:
1. Keep regular 1:1’s throughout the year. If you are meeting regularly the annual review should not come as a surprise.
2. Give specific tangible examples. Nothing frustrates employees more than managers who talk in generalities. To be able to do this, keep weekly notes from your 1:1’s in an electronic folder so you have those examples ready and available.
3. Determine what type of feedback you are giving:
• Continue – behavior is on the right path
• Stop – behavior is not serving them well and needs to stop
• Growth – you see untapped potential that you want them to stretch
4. Let the employee take the lead and self-assess first. Ask them how they think the year has gone. This levels the playing field right out of the gate.
5. Limit distractions. Shut down your laptop and cell phone to be truly present.
6. Words matter. Adjust to the different personalities of your employees. You can deliver the exact same message to two different people and get very different results. This is the consequence of personality differences.
7. If you anticipate a difficult session, neutralize your feelings before walking in that room. If you go in with a defensive posture the employee will follow in kind.
8. Bring clear department goals so that you can work with the employee to define SMART goals for them that are aligned to their strengths.
9. Be sure to recognize their contributions.
10. Ask for feedback on your feedback. To ensure that your message has been heard ask them for thoughts on the information you have delivered.
Top 10 Tips for Receiving Feedback:
1. Come to the conversation with an open and positive mind.
2. Listen to your manager’s feedback before jumping in with your response.
3. Be clear in your own mind about what you have done well and what you may not have done so well prior to your review discussion.
4. When you respond be succinct and clear about why what you have accomplished matters. Be able to site tangible results.
5. Don’t get defensive. It never improves the conversation.
6. If you were unable to meet some of your goals accept responsibility where appropriate and most importantly state what you would do differently next time.
7. Realize all feedback is not created equal. Take in what is meaningful to you and let go of the rest.
8. If you hear the same feedback from more than one person pay special attention.
9. Stay positive. Don’t obsess over the feedback around what you did wrong, learn from it.
10. Recognize feedback is a gift. The only way to grow professionally is to receive feedback.
Happy Holidays Everyone!!