Feedback. Do you offer it? Have you even thought about it?

Feedback is essential if you want to become a better leader. It is a critical skill for you, supervisors, managers, and really for everyone on your team. As important as it is, so many business owners continue to be very uncomfortable with both providing feedback, and believe it or not, sometimes even in receiving feedback.

If you are providing feedback to someone, here are a couple of tips to keep in mind:

1. Be specific. Telling someone they did a “great job” without providing specifics is not very useful. Provide examples of when they did a “great job” – what did they do, when, where etc. Provide detail on what you noticed, not what you assumed.

For example “Joe, I just want to say how much I appreciate you getting to the Smith emergency water loss and helping out even though it was your weekend off. We needed your help. Mrs. Smith needed your help. We couldn’t have got the job done Saturday without you and I don’t even want to think what would have happened if you hadn’t of noticed the deep freeze had gotten unplugged by our new tech. Joe, your attention to detail is fantastic. I always feel better when I know you are out on one of our jobs.”

2. Provide feedback that is meaningful. Feedback should be relevant and important to us, or our work. Have a conversation about what type of feedback your colleagues are looking for, what’s important in their work, or with their priorities. What type of feedback is meaningful for each person you work with?

Hmmm, kind of reminds us that communication is so very important. Quick feedback like “Sally, I really appreciate the way you keep your service van looking neat, tidy and clean…..inside and out. I may not thank you for this often but I notice it daily. Thank you for taking pride in our equipment and being here to serve our customers.”

3. Provide feedback at an appropriate time. The timing of feedback is also important. Is the person open to receiving feedback? Is it an appropriate time, or location?   When feedback is delivered is also important. When would be the most appropriate time to provide feedback?

Calling Frank at home at 11:00PM on a Friday night to thank them for looking after a little after hours service job is a nice gesture but may not be the best timing. If you brought Frank to the front of the room during your weekly staff meeting (you do have those right?) and said in front of every one ‘Frank was just heading out of the shop on Friday afternoon for a long weekend and when he heard there was a customer had a couple of roof tabs missing he volunteered to do a service call on his way home. Frank knew the forcast was for rain all weekend and he went above and beyond to help our customer. It’s customer service like this that keeps bringing in business for all of us to stay busy. How about we all give Frank a big thank-you’. “

4. Provide feedback on an ongoing basis – Feedback is most useful when it relates to events that just happened. So many times feedback is only provided when it is performance review time. Feedback about something that happened six months is not as useful as having a discussion about something that happened today.

How do you want to provide more regular feedback to your team? Think about this and make a conscious effort to do so during the next week.

Watch and see if your staff doesn’t look a little sharper and stand a little taller when you are giving them sincere, quick feedback on how they are performing.

What changes do you want to make in your company / management style with respect to providing feedback? Please share an idea or experience by sending me an email or posting one in the comment box below.

I guess what I am saying is…….. it would be great to get some feedback from you!