Tip #6 – Learn to Give Great Feedback

Many otherwise solid leaders struggle when it comes to delivering “constructive criticism.”  They become tongue-tied, too busy to talk, and often times avoid saying anything at all, until written performance review time rolls around, and then the bad news comes as a surprise to the employee.  Yet one of the best ways to create loyalty among your staff while improving performance is by sharing performance feedback with them.  Timely, positive feedback increases the likelihood that your team will repeat the behaviors that you are looking for.  And when you have a difficult message to deliver, make it easy on yourself, and try this IDEA model.

Introduce the Topic:  “Is now a good time to talk about how the project went?”  “Would you like some feedback?”

Describe What Happened, and the Effect It Had:  “When your project went over budget by 15%, I had to make up that overspending by cutting back on the development budget in an equal amount, and that was the department’s highest priority.”

Agree on the Action You Would Like:  “In the future, I’d like you to come to me before the project budget is blown, so that we can brainstorm possible alternatives together.  Or I’m open to hearing how you might suggest we deal with this in the future?”

At the end of the conversation, check to make sure that what the employee heard is what you intended to communicate.  “Let’s make sure we’re on the same page.  How would you expect to handle a similar situation in the future?”

Finally, think about the best time and place to share difficult news with someone.  Pick a private location, and don’t allow distractions of phone calls or text messages or uninvited guests.  Put the IDEA model to work for you, and watch you and your team’s performance improve!

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