Giving feedback - something you might dread but have to do regardless if you are in charge of a team. Performance reviews, project wrap-ups and self-reflections are all part of daily operations. But now that most of us work remotely, how can you encourage and inspire your team to do their best from the comfort of their home? Giving constructive feedback might be easier than you think!
On Monday, April 6, we are running a free webinar with Dinah Spritzer on Giving & Getting Feedback. You can sign up here and before you join us, read below how you could improve the performance of your team and ensure everybody is on the same page whilst working from home.
Being a trusted member of the team is as important as being able to manage the team. Therefore, make sure you spend enough time getting to know your colleagues and recognise not only their strengths and weaknesses but also their preferred way in which they receive feedback.
If they believe that you have their best interests at heart, they are more likely to open up and listen to you. This will make it easier for you to assign the correct tasks to them. To show you can be trusted, be honest, open and direct with your team members. Only then will they feel inspired to act the same.
Pause and reflect
Telling someone what they should do can be stressful and daunting. But it has to be done if you want to move forward. So, before you start to chat with someone, pause and think. This gives you time to realize their unique perspective which you can further develop whilst listening to the other party during your conversation. Instead of giving orders, ask for opinions and pose questions to make them feel empowered.
Have an agenda
Once you start talking to someone, it is easy to lose track of time. In such cases, plan the structure of your meeting and follow through. Do not have more than three main points to discuss and ensure you have enough time to go over all of them. If the conversation drifts off, gently bring it back to the topic. And always include time for questions when drafting an agenda for any kind of meeting.
Ask specific questions
To understand your team better, try to listen more than you speak. Make your sentences clear and brief, so you have time for feedback from the addressee. Consider starting the meeting with these questions:
- How do you feel about your current task(s)?
- What help do you need from me/the team?
- Which tasks do you enjoy the most?
Record the outcome
Before you both leave the room, make sure each of you records the outcome of the meeting on a piece of paper or on the phone (again, this can be used for any kind of meeting). Come back to your notes after some time, once you have sufficient time to process the conversation and detach from emotions, summarise the discussed points and create a follow-up plan.
Follow up promptly
Be the role model and take responsibility for your actions. Follow up in a timely manner with your colleagues on the agreed points you discussed one-on-one and ensure they are on the same page. Regular conversations guarantee that everyone copes well with their assigned workload.
If you see someone struggling, grab a coffee together and follow the steps above. Contrarily, if you don’t notice anything wrong, make sure you are always approachable, so your team members feel encouraged to reach out to you if something doesn’t feel right to them.
Should you wish to give constructive feedback, the key is to develop trust with your colleagues, be empathetic and structure your meetings. Don’t waste either your or your colleague’s time. Whether you lead a team of 100 or are in charge of two people, the principle of giving feedback is the same. Be human, be fair and be kind. We are all people and we want to be treated fairly and nicely. It really is that simple!