Giving productive feedback is one of the most valuable skills a business owner and/or manager can possess. It provides your new and existing staff an important observers’ insight into how they are progressing. However, if executed poorly, it can rebound on the employee and create apprehension and unease. They can feel belittled and feel insignificant to the bigger picture and consequently, less motivated.

To avoid this, follow these 5 steps:

1. SECURITY.
During a study at Columbia University New York, they discovered that only about 30% of feedback is taken on board by the person who receives it. So how you present your feedback is almost as important as the feedback itself. The more the person understands and becomes aware, the greater the chance of change.

To avoid making the employee feel idiotic, don’t use a disrespectful or intellectual tone or language. Make what you are saying to them clear and simple.

2. ENCOURAGEMENT.
Providing feedback isn’t just clarifying the things that people are doing wrong, it is also vital to highlight what they do great at as well. If you start by expressing positive feedback, i.e. what they are doing well at, this will trigger and ignite certain areas in the brain, which will make that person more open and accepting to a new way of thinking (i.e. changing what they are doing wrong). Then finish off with some more positive things or simply reinforce what you stated could be improved upon before to boost your employees confidence back up.

“People have a habit of becoming what you encourage, not what you nag them to be” – Scudder N. Parker

3. PROVIDE SOLUTIONS.
When conveying the negative aspects of their work, always provide them with a solution to the problem that you have just put forth, or aid them in finding the solution for themselves.

By giving them or helping them find the answer, the person in question won’t feel so singled out or embarrassed.

4. INSTANTANEOUS.
There is no point in waiting to provide feedback. If someone did something 3 months ago, what good will it do if you are only recognising it now? Will anyone care? Its been scientifically proven that adult brains learn best in action. Don’t be afraid to give feedback straight way or as they are completing a task.

5. FIRM AND FRIENDLY.
Creating the balance of being firm but friendly is difficult in the beginning but a great tool to have in your pocket. Make sure both you and the person both understand what you expect from them, without being rude or demanding.

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