There’s Nothing Constructive About Criticism – Give Good Feedback Instead

“No one has ever harmed their stomach by swallowing evil words unsaid” – Winston Churchill

Your number one role as a manager is to teach someone else what you know. Having the ability to give good feedback is critical if you want to improve performance. (You’ll attract more bees with honey then you ever will with vinegar)

In order to give good back (as opposed to constructive criticism) you must be able to explain or demonstrate what the person is currently doing and communicate why you think it’s falling short of expectations. Unless you can explain why that individuals current performance is failing to get the desired results (below accepted standards), you stand little chance that they will be motivated enough to improve their performance. (For example – if it takes your learner 40 minutes to complete a task and you think it can be done in 20 minutes, you must be able to demonstrate that it can be done in 20 minutes). Don’t get too caught up in how they are doing it. The how isn’t important. It’s the end result that counts. You may suggest an easier way for them to do it – but just cause it’s your way – it doesn’t make it the only way. If you can demonstrate a faster way to do it, then make productivity the issue. Their way isn’t dumb; it’s just taking too long.

Things you SHOULD do when giving good feedback

  • Feedback is most effective when it’s immediate, specific, relevant, and accurate. (No sense in bringing something up that happened days or weeks ago)
  • State the purpose of your “teachable moment”. What do you want to improve upon?
  • Set a positive tone. Choose your words carefully. Be respectful – play nice.
  • Be specific; take your emotions out of the exchange. Base the discussion on facts not feelings.
  • Focus on the behaviour – not the person. (I don’t want to change you, only what or the way you are doing it)
  • Invite input from the learner. How would they do it?
  • Listen a great deal more than you talk. You can’t learn anything when you’re talking
  • Agree on an action plan. Resist the urge to insist they use your plan. They must own the process because you are going to hold them accountable for the results.
  • Look for opportunities to praise. (Read Ken Blanchard’s “One Minute Manager”.)
  • Follow-up, follow-up, follow-up. (People do what you inspect not what you expect)