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The Best Ways to Provide Honest Feedback to Your Team

Have you ever worked for an entrepreneur that encouraged their employees to share feedback with them? Or have you been that entrepreneur, seeking feedback from your team about what you and the business could be doing or changing for the better? While a lack of frequent feedback is considered a major factor as to why individuals leave their jobs, giving feedback is a braver move than many may realize.

You might feel shy about giving your fellow team members feedback if you haven’t done so before. Negative feedback is also much harder to deliver than positive commentary, to the point where you might delay doing so entirely simply to avoid a difficult conversation.

Is there a certain strategy you should employ with the process? Yes and no — let’s take a look at the best ways to give constructive feedback to team members of all ages at your business.

Understand their communication style.

Giving feedback isn’t a one-size-fits-all situation. Some employees respond best to meeting one-on-one with their manager once every other month. Others prefer to meet more frequently, or would rather hold the discussion through email or a messaging app like Slack. Understand how your employee communicates best first, then prepare to have a conversation surrounding feedback together.

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Center feedback around the individual and department.

Far too often when an employee meets with their boss to discuss their performance, the feedback is mostly centered on their achievements and what the individual could improve upon next. When providing feedback to your team, consider the individual and their department as separate entities. What kinds of opportunities are available for the employee’s personal growth? What about the department as a whole?

Chat with the employee to find out how they work with the rest of the team, which areas or processes they think could be improved, and innovative ideas worth introducing for positive change within the overall business.

Be sincere and direct.

This isn’t the time to dance around touchy topics. If you are looking to speak with one of your employees, make sure they know the reason you are calling them into your office and what exactly it is that you want to discuss with them — positive or negative.

Your feedback should be constructive from start to finish. Don’t put anyone down or load them up with compliment sandwiches. Make sure they know what you are recognizing them for or what you are trying to have them improve upon.

Have your team return the favor.

As I mentioned earlier, having a conversation about feedback requires you being ready and willing to receive honest commentary about your performance too. Once you have given your feedback to the respective team member, ask them if there’s anything about your leadership style that you could change or improve. Listen, take notes, and do what you can to implement these changes especially if they come up frequently among your employees. This shows that you can accept feedback in addition to giving it to your team.

Deborah Sweeney is the CEO of MyCorporation.com which provides online legal filing services for entrepreneurs and businesses, startup bundles that include corporation and LLC formation, registered agent services, DBAs, and trademark and copyright filing services. You can find MyCorporation on Twitter at @MyCorporation and Deborah at @deborahsweeney.

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