Managers often hesitate to give developmental feedback for fear of damaging the work relationship. Yet, at least one survey has shown that accurate and supportive informal feedback can increase an employee’s performance potential by over 30 per cent. The key to delivering feedback “without tears” is preparation.
Before offering feedback, prepare by answering a few questions, such as:
- What do you want the feedback to accomplish?
- Is it related to work and if so does it benefit the organization?
- Is it something the receiver can fix, and if so, do they have the resources to fix it?
- Do you have all the facts? If not, do some research to clarify the situation.
- Does the feedback benefit the receiver?
- Will it help them produce better work?
- What’s in it for you? Don’t deliver developmental feedback just because “they need to hear it,” or to gain status, or avoid/displace responsibility.
- Is the feedback welcome?
- Do you have the receiver's trust or just authority?
- Can you help? Do you have the expertise, information, authority, resources, etc. to help the receiver be successful now and in the future?
Answer these questions BEFORE offering feedback, and if there isn’t a big payoff for the receiver and for the business, it probably won’t benefit you either. When you do deliver developmental feedback, be prepared to ask more questions than you answer and to help in any way you can.