As promised in my previous post on Performance Feedback, I’m back with a piece of advice for the sender.
Here are some things that you, the manager (sender), could consider in order to encourage a constructive attitude from the receiver:
- Firstly, be sure that the standards are clearly understood by the receiver. (You should have done that during the previous performance review when you set the requirements). You won’t get anywhere if you don’t refer to the same things.
- The performance feedback should be continuous, specific and able to obtain an active response.
- Continuous feedback – You don’t need to get at the annual performance review in order to provide feedback. Keep in mind that the worst feedback is no feedback.
- Specific – be specific, bring examples and arguments and suggest alternatives. After receiving a feedback that person should know what exactly he/she should start/stop/keep doing (active response).
- Focus your feedback on results and competencies; don’t direct it at the person in front of you. If you fail in doing this, the receiver takes it personally and the natural reaction is to get defensive. (Is useless to mention that words such as “guilt”, “fault” and the general ”I am right, you are wrong.” attitude must be avoided at all costs.)
- Walk the talk – if you promised something, do it. If you weren’t able to do it, take responsibility for that, explain and evaluate the consequences. (e.g.: you promised to budget an assistant for her/him, but the budget was reviewed. You can’t expect him/her to provide the same results as if he/she had that resource).
- Accept the fact that results are not entirely under his/her control (lack of resources provided by the company, market decrease etc). Take the context into consideration when providing feedback. If you do this, you can avoid both coming off as absurd and generating a defensive reaction. The question you should ask yourself is:”Given the context, what could‘ve been done better?”