5-steps to conducting quality feedback sessions

 Aug 19, 2015

I will hopefully celebrate my 53rd birthday in a few weeks. Thirty eight of those years have been spent in workforces across seven countries. This also means I have worked for many managers, many project managers, and many so called leaders.

For the past ten years I have been training and coaching new mangers, middle managers and senior managers, and if there was one practice the majority of them avoided it would be conducting constructive feedback sessions with their team members.

Please don’t add yourself to this group of managers who continually put these types of conversations off; instead be unique and be a manager who has the courage and capacity to conduct great constructive conversations with their employees.

So here’s how:

When conducted properly, constructive feedback encourages team members to change negative behaviour and improve performance. However, when done poorly, such feedback can discourage team members, making them feel frustrated. The purpose of constructive feedback is to improve the team member’s job performance, so it is important to provide prompt and accurate guidance.

The process for giving individuals constructive feedback consists of the following five steps:

  1. Identify the problem behaviour
  2. Explain how the behaviour is detrimental
  3. Help the individual acknowledge the problem
  4. Develop goals with the individual
  5. Monitor the individual’s performance

1. Identify the problem behaviour

Begin a constructive feedback session by informing the individual that you have become aware of the problem behaviour, always use specific examples to describe and prove the behaviour. Discuss when and where the behaviour occurred.

The more accurate and detailed your description, the easier it will be for the recipient to understand what needs to change. Focus on the person’s actions and behaviours that are the cause for the feedback instead of focusing on their personality or attributes. This technique will help prevent the recipient from feeling as though they are being personally attacked.

2. Explain how the behaviour is detrimental

After you have explained the negative behaviours, help the individual understand how the behaviour is detrimental. Detrimental to themselves, the team, the organisation and its clients, when a recipient understands the effects of their actions, they are usually willing to make the necessary changes.

3. Help the individual acknowledge the problem

Occasionally, an individual resists acknowledging some or all of the problems their behaviour causes. If this occurs, provide specific examples that show the effects of the recipient’s negative behaviour.

Once you have provided sufficient evidence to show the individual’s impact, they usually agree that a problem exists and is willing to make an effort to change their behaviour.

However, if the individual refuses to acknowledge the problem, or does not change their behaviour, you might need to explain to them that they may face negative consequences for their actions.

Describing consequences can help the individual understand the severity of the problem.

4. Develop goals with the individual

After the individual has agreed that they need to modify their behaviour, you should then work with them to develop goals. A behavioural goals needs to be specific, obtainable, and measurable.

Determine a specific time frame in which the changes should occur, and thoroughly describe how the changes will happen. It is important to involve the individual in setting behavioural goals so that they feel a sense of ownership and dedication to the goals.

5. Monitor the individual’s performance

Monitoring the individual’s performance will improve the chances of him successfully changing his behaviour. One way to monitor progress is to plan regular meetings with the individual. Such meetings provide an opportunity to measure his progress toward the agreed goals.

So there you have it, all it takes now is for you to practice it.

Stop reading now and look up, look around you, look behind you, what do you see? Yes, you see your team members, and their just waiting for you to weed out their weaknesses, their blind spots and their self-doubts…so go practice…the sooner the better for everyone!

To learn more workplace management skills and leadership skills please visit our Professional Development portfolio.

Take good care, be happy, be relaxed, and be real.

Stan Thomas.

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About the Author:

Stan Thomas  

Stan has been working in a professional training capacity for over 15 years and possesses a wealth of knowledge in the areas of adult education gained through both formal study and practical training delivery both nationally and internationally. As the Professional Development Manager for New Horizons Melbourne, Stan is responsible for the delivery, quality control and enhancement of existing and new programs at New Horizons.

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