Get comfortable giving constructive feedback

Why do managers find giving constructive feedback so difficult and uncomfortable?

Many managers find public speaking and difficult face-to-face conversations daunting, especially when they are focused around delivering criticism. It’s not only what you say that matters, but also how you say it. You should focus on the evidence and behaviour that requires feedback rather than your employees’ characteristics and values to keep the conversation relevant to your workplace and ensure the feedback is less personal. This also directs the conversation away from being perceived as unfair, unjustified or a personal attack.

If you’ve ever felt uncomfortable giving constructive feedback, it is likely to be due to a lack of preparation or perhaps your relationship with the individual didn’t start on the right foot. Either way, earning the respect of your employees is one of the most important aspects of people management; if your employees respect you, they will listen to your feedback.

What you need to remember

Constructive feedback is informative, problem-focused and based on observations. It is important that you talk about the situation, not the individual and remain sincere. Feedback is either to reinforce positive behaviours or to identify and work on areas that need improvement. Constructive feedback is a good mix of both praise and suggestions for improvement.

Different perspectives to consider

Most consider constructive feedback to be the key in their progression throughout a company. Good employees will strive to be the best they can be and want to know where they are doing well and where and how they can improve. Adept listening skills and empathy on your part are crucial when giving constructive feedback, as they show your team member that you value them and their input.

Our top tips for giving valuable feedback

  • When giving constructive feedback, it is important to consider the feelings of the individual receiving the feedback and how they might respond. Best practice would be to ensure that you are sincere in your comments and offer practical advice based on actions as opposed to comments on the individual themselves
  • Be problem focused and specific with your feedback. Having a clear action plan of what the employee needs to do to improve their performance for a certain task is imperative when giving someone constructive feedback. Best practice would be to follow the SMART criteria; this stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Specific
  • Give praise where it’s due. This reassures the employee that you haven’t lost faith in them and are not criticising their overall performance but are making them aware that there are areas they need to improve on, whilst showing appreciation for their achievements.

How C-Live can help build your confidence

As someone in a management or leadership role, you are expected to give your team feedback on their performance as part of their professional development. If you feel like you aren’t fully equipped with the skills or confidence to have those types of conversations, they can feel incredibly daunting.

C-Live, the UK’s first simulation-based virtual reality role play training platform, was created to revolutionise how the education and business sectors offer training and development. It offers a safe environment for participants to practice challenging situations and develop ‘human’ skills that are so vital to the success of a business.

Would you like to know more? Click here to schedule a free demonstration.