As a manager of people, feedback is often the most difficult aspect of it all. Easy to tell someone they’ve done a bad job but even harder to tell someone they’ve done a good job. Praise, reward, and recognition often goes unnoticed. But the power this has on people is amazing. Many years ago, I remember being praised by my manager in front a group of my peers and after that moment, it just lifted me to perform better and really want to do everything I could to make my manager and our department stand out. I think feedback is one of the most underestimated tool in a manager’s toolkit.
Negative feedback is almost always easy to do. You should have done this – you should have done that! But managers need to have a bit of EQ when it comes to this. You don’t want to demoralize your staff member. You want to try and frame it in a positive way – and in a manner from which they will a) acknowledge it & b) ensure they learn from it. The last thing you want is to get your staff member so off-side by what and how you give feedback that they start feeling uncomfortable and it begins affecting them negatively. But tell them why you are giving them this feedback and what you hope they will get out of it. Sounds simple, but all too often I’ve seen it not work!
When it comes to positive feedback, there are a million things in the toolkit. I remember one of Jack Welch’s books about how he wrote a small thank you post-it note and stuck it on the monitor of someone in the factory, personally signed – and my how effective and powerful that was! Mentioning one of your team member’s performance to your boss, recognising someone immediately after a good job, simply saying thanks face to face, writing an email/letter of thanks, nominate them for official staff awards, recognise them at staff meetings, offer them flexible working hours, offer them additional training/development programs…..and the list goes on. The ability to inspire and motivate should not be underestimated.
When’s the last time you told someone they did a great job?