Wed. Jul 17th, 2024
How to Offer Constructive Feedback to Employees

As a manager, knowing how to lead your team can be challenging. Research from the American Psychological Association suggests that people consistently underestimate others’ desire for constructive feedback. When you’re managing a large staff of workers, chances are they would appreciate gaining some well-meaning criticism. Giving your employees this essential information allows them to improve their skill set. That can be particularly useful for professionals who are looking for ways to level up their career. 

“People often have opportunities to provide others with constructive feedback that could be immediately helpful, whether that’s letting someone know of a typo in their presentation before a client presentation, or telling a job candidate about a stained shirt before an interview,” said lead author Nicole Abi-Esber, a doctoral candidate at Harvard Business School. “Overall, our research found that people consistently underestimate others’ desire for feedback, which can have harmful results for would-be feedback recipients.”

It’s important not to hold back here. “Even if you feel hesitant to give feedback, we recommend that you give it,” said Abi-Esber. “Take a second and imagine you’re in the other person’s shoes and ask yourself if you would want feedback if you were them. Most likely you would, and this realization can help empower you to give them feedback.”

Chad Price, CEO of MAKO Medical Laboratories, now oversees a staff of more than 1,000 workers. As a natural-born business leader, he knows the power of constructive feedback. Since the leading testing lab expanded massively over the course of the pandemic, sharing this vital information with the rest of the team. However, it can be hard for managers to understand how to offer criticism to their employees. Within this article, we will look at some of the approaches that CEO Chad Price utilizes in his leadership role. 

Arrange regular check-ins with the team 

As a manager, it’s important to check-in with your team on a regular basis. However, all too often, leaders are busy with the everyday operations of the company. When that happens, having one-to-ones with their employees can become less of a priority. 

As CEO and leader Chad Price knows, it’s vital to keep your finger on the pulse here. It’s no good being a silent manager. Arranging quarterly meetings with each of the staff members allows you to graciously give them some feedback. This strategy means that you are not only speaking to employees when there is a problem. You have the opportunity to mention any minor concerns before they become bigger deals. 

Doing this allows the employee to develop their skill-set and address any weaknesses they may have ahead of time. “Feedback is key to personal growth and improvement, and it can fix problems that are otherwise costly to the recipient,” said co-author Francesca Gino, PhD, also of Harvard Business School. “The next time you hear someone mispronounce a word, see a stain on their shirt or notice a typo on their slide, we urge you to point it out to them — they probably want feedback more than you think.”

Suggest ways employees can improve

If a certain staff member is not excelling in an area, you may want to approach them about this issue. When this arises, it’s vital that you consider the ways that they can improve the situation. Offering them constructive advice will give them the chance to make valuable changes in the way that they work. It’s most likely that the team member does not know how to adapt their work style. Perhaps they haven’t had the training that they need, for instance. Alternatively, they may not be clear on what the correct process is at all. 

Whatever the reason for their failings, you need to give them the support that they need. Armed with your advice and help, the employee will be able to exceed your expectations. So, when you speak to them about their potential pitfalls, make sure that you also have some words of wisdom for them. When CEO Chad Price works with his wider team, he is quick to give each member the help they need to overcome any challenges in their way.

Use clear and concise language

You may be tempted to sugarcoat the message. However, when you start using vague language, you could alienate your employees. When you’re trying to offer someone constructive criticism, you need to be as honest and clear as possible. You can use the following technique to get it right: Pinpoint the problem and be specific. Explain why it’s an issue and how it needs to be improved. Give advice on how the employee may change their approach. Once you’ve done all of that, set a reasonable deadline to revisit the issue. 

All too many managers struggle when it comes to giving their employees criticism. You may worry that the staff member will take the feedback personally or disagree with you. That will always be a risk — but it’s not something that should hold you back. By separating the individual from the problem, you can avoid this potential misunderstanding. 

The more open you are with your staff members, the easier you will find this process. Chad Price, CEO of MAKO Medical Laboratories, uses this approach when working with his team. The better your communication style, the more straightforward you will find it. It’s not merely about telling staff members what to do and how to do it. Instead, you need to foster an open line of communication between the two parties and utilize it regularly. 

The Takeaway

You should never underestimate the power of communication. No matter what your managerial level, it’s essential that you give your team the constructive feedback they need to flourish. Leaders like CEO Chad Price understand that this is a core value in the world of modern-day business. We have highlighted some of the core strategies you can use here. Now that you have learned them, why not try using them within your managerial duties? Offering this information to your employees affords them the opportunity to develop their skills and become more efficient in their work.