Feedback Needs to Be Honest and Specific

Feedback needs to be honest and specific. There’s no reason to make up things when giving feedback.  Just tell the truth.  For positive feedback, the same rules apply.  State the facts and the reasons the employee is succeeding.  Example:  “Wow!  You are always willing to do anything and you volunteer to step up to do projects all the time.  I heard about how you helped out Danielle with her work and she was able to move forward. I love it!”

There’s no need to add anything to it.  If we give specific details about why we like what they are doing then they know exactly what to do to continue with good performance.  Don’t compare anyone’s work or attributes to other people or put anyone else down.  How many jobs have you had?  At those jobs, how many times did you feel appreciated?  Focus on what they have done well and let them know how much you appreciate it.  Appreciation is the #1 thing employees say they don’t feel at work.  Appreciate them.  Example: “Thank you for taking the time to pick up my mail and bring it to me.  I really appreciate it.”

People really like to hear specifics about what they do well and what they don’t do well.  It really helps them know what the heck you are talking about. People are able to do the job we want them to do if we are clear, honest and specific.  Clarity is kind.  The earlier we let them know what we want, the better.  Communicating specific job tasks and responsibilities at the beginning of a job is extremely kind and helpful.  When giving helpful feedback or reviewing job expectations, ask them if they understand.  Listen to what might be causing them problems and answer any questions.  What they say doesn’t have to change anything about what you do unless it’s appropriate to change it.  In many cases, the employee has information that helps everyone do a better job.

Example: “I’ve noticed that when asked a question or approached by another team member, you are short in your response and are not listening to the other person.  This behavior is interpreted as being difficult to work with.  Others really need you to listen to them and spend time with them to ensure they understand what you are saying.  Do you see how this is happening and is there something going on I can help you with?”


R. Schroyer