Julian’s Business Tips: Positive Feedback

Do the words, ‘Performance Review’ fill you or your staff with fear?

Julian Berry Fundraiser for ACT – Photographer Mel Yeneralski Media Studio CUH hospitals

That usually means you have been on the end of poorly delivered feedback in the past.

Giving (and receiving) feedback is a skill that you should learn and practise, and encourage your team to do the same.

Imagine talking to a stroppy teenager about their behaviour – some ways will bring instant defensiveness, others will bring intransigence, others tears. None of these is right!

The ideal result would be an understanding of the issue and an honest desire to change, to develop.

By setting an example of having constructive, empathetic conversations, you will encourage a culture of openness and continuous improvement.

Here are a few tips for you:
Make sure the receiver is ready – ‘Come into my office, there’s something I need to discuss with you’ usually sets alarm bells ringing!
Be specific – vagueness leads to uncertainty. Not, ‘Your work needs to improve’, but ‘This is what I noticed, can I work with you to help change XXXX?’
Come from a position of empathy – seek to understand, before seeking to be understood.
Be timely – deal with situations promptly.
Keep it private – never do this in public – having others listening is a sure way to get your colleague to clam up.
Make it a 2-way conversation – let them respond, let them ask questions – and listen to what they have to say!
Focus on performance, not personality.
Make sure both parties agree to any actions, and put a follow-up session in the diary.

It does take practice to get good at this, so why not make it a New Year’s resolution to give it a go? And if you’re brave, ask your colleague to give you feedback on your meeting!