If you’re like most managers, you probably don’t give your team members enough feedback. Or you give plenty of praise but shy away from talking, giving corrections or criticism… or, on the other end of the spectrum, you give far more criticism than praise. If any of these describe you, you could stand to make feedback – positive and negative – a more regular part of your conversations with your staff.
But even when you intend to get better about giving more regular, frequent feedback, the intention can be lost in the rush of day-to-day work… which means that you’ll be much more likely to follow through on that intention if you have a system for keeping track of the different pieces of feedback that you want to give to individual staff members. The reality is that you’re unlikely to remember all of it otherwise.
You should of course give quick thoughts on the spot when you can, but often feedback won’t be urgent or will require a longer or more private discussion than that allows for. Plus, having a way to record your thoughts the rest of the time can:
- remind you of feedback you want to give and might otherwise forget
- nudge you to realize you need to adjust the balance of the feedback you’re giving (if, for example, it shows you that you’re giving far more critical feedback than positive feedback)
- help you see overall patterns and themes that you can use to give an overall summary message when you’re talking about the big picture (such as during performance evaluations)
Whatever you use, it doesn’t have to be a complicated system. Often just keeping an ongoing Word doc is all you need, or a chart with each team member’s name on it and room to record your thoughts below. The key to do it effectively is less about the specific system you choose and more about just committing to doing it, and then following through.
It could even look as simple as something like this:
- great job presenting to the board – fielded tricky questions with poise and confidence!
- company she referred for web revamp wasn’t quite right; touch base on criteria
- talking points draft – concrete examples were really compelling
- bumps in meeting logistics – talk through how to approach next time
- heard great praise from VP about his helpfulness
From there, you’d consult your notes ahead of one-on-ones so you remember to bring up anything you’ve put in your tracker. And don’t erase as you go – keep your old notes in there, so that you’re able to spot patterns, both positive and negative.
If you’re not already doing something like this – and if your honest assessment would be that you could up your feedback frequency – give it a shot. It’s almost sure to result in a culture of far more regular, normalized feedback on your team.
Posted in People Management, Team & Project Management, Team Productivity | Tagged developmental feedback for your team, feedback, giving feedback, management style, People Management, team productivity