As a manager, one of your responsibilities is helping your employees grow. A vital piece of this is providing constructive feedback. Even if you’re uncomfortable with the hard conversations, you need to recognize how valuable your employees find conversations like this. One study found more than 55% preferred to receive feedback that was corrective, with 92% believing the negative feedback ultimately led to positive results.
Even more, those in favor of constructive feedback thought more highly of their managers because of these discussions. If you know it’s time to start delivering constructive feedback but aren’t sure how, here are three tips to help you get started.
Keep it private
The easiest way to start a conversation on the wrong note is to do it out in the open in full hearing of other employees. It doesn’t matter the weight of what you’re delivering – whether it’s a minor correction or major issues – you need to keep the conversation private. It will make your employee more comfortable, especially if you request the meeting in a casual manner so they aren’t isn’t automatically panicked if you say you want to discuss how they’re doing.
Focus your message
Even if you have a laundry list to discuss with an employee, you don’t want to unleash it all in the first meeting. Going too deep into too many subjects may cause them to feel upset based on their performance, meaning they may lose focus. Start with one or two of the most basic items and build from there. By starting slowly, you can build more trust with them and help make real performance improvements without overwhelming them.
Make the experience collaborative
If you bring in the employee, tell them what needs to be corrected, and then how to do it, you aren’t helping them at all. You’re simply talking at them when it really needs to be a conversation. As you bring up what is going on, give them space to talk about it from their perspective to help with your own insight.
Once you’ve talked through what’s happening, lead them towards a solution. Provide your feedback in the conversation but maintain the collaborative process so they can determine what needs to be done and how they’re going to do it.
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