People learn during “teachable moments.” As a manager you need to be there to catch them performing well or performing poorly so you can capitalize on that opportunity.
However, it is not enough just to “catch them.” People will only change when they consider the impact their actions or behavior may have on something that is important to them. Your challenge is invoking that consideration through self-awareness. Feedback is intended to help create self-awareness.
Without self-awareness it is very difficult to change or reinforce behavior. A lack of self-awareness can lead to slow or unpredictable development. Through feedback, you need to be able to create a “reflection” for employees who cannot otherwise see by themselves.
When delivering feedback to your employees keep these guidelines in mind:
- Immediate – Catch them doing something well or doing something poorly. Capitalize on the teachable moment, in the moment.
- Be specific – They were there, but they rarely remember! What did they say? What did they do? What was the impact of their action or inaction?
- Impact – Don’t just discuss the behavior, focus on the impact the behavior had on the business, the relationship or their goals, both positive and negative.
- Future oriented – Don’t overly focus on what they did, instead focus on what you need them to do next time.
- Honest – Sometimes, you have to deliver a tough message. You owe it to the employee to be candid with them. If you don’t talk about it, they won’t fix it!
- Behavior focused – Focus on observable behavior in comparison to the expectation. Don’t focus only on results. Link behavior to the result or impact.