Developing Your Talent

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Are Your Employees Asking: “Can I Get Some Feedback?”

By Kristen Leverone on August 26, 2013

As a manager responsible for the development of direct reports, are you defining the goals you want to achieve when you provide feedback? Surprisingly, many managers do not. In fact, the strategic intent is often given scant attention. Delivered without specific goals in mind, feedback can actually have a detrimental impact on an employee’s motivation and engagement.

The goal of feedback is to empower the individual and provide advice and direction needed so that an employee can take ownership for his or her performance and success. And this is best accomplished with a targeted approach. Feedback needs to be specific, timely and constructive, providing clear direction and action steps that will improve the employee’s performance.

Appreciating the value of feedback, it’s also important to understand how to give it. Feedback is always easier to give when it’s given in the spirit of truly caring about the individual. People are much more open to tough feedback – and are appreciative – when they know their manager is committed to helping them become better.

Ultimately, the best feedback sessions engage the individual in a discussion. When a manager initiates a conversation by offering a specific insight on performance, you know the employee is open and receptive when he or she asks important questions, such as, “How can I improve my performance? What am I doing right and how do I get even better? How do I contribute to the goals of this department?” In other words, the employee is taking an active role in the process and assessing his or her own performance.

In order to become more confident and productive, employees need to know what they’re doing well or what needs improvement, and that requires targeted feedback and ongoing conversations.

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