As your business grows (and you hire employees) inevitably your employees and your team will make mistakes at some point — as the CEO you will have to address them.
When you first recognize a problem or issue with your employees, sharing feedback is the clearest and quickest way to encourage a positive change in behavior. Sharing constructive, results-oriented feedback is beneficial because it helps employees focus on the key areas they need to work on. Additionally, many people can be motivated and inspired by well-delivered feedback, causing them to perform at a higher levels.
Here is a five-step model to get started:
1. Ask for permission.
You would be surprised how much of a difference a simple courtesy, such as asking for permission, can make when you give informal performance evaluations. A simple “Hey, do you have a minute for some quick feedback?” can help the receiver become mentally ready for it, be it positive or negative.
2. State what you observed.
Where possible, use specific examples and avoid being judgmental. Saying to an employee, “You don’t give off a lot of energy in meetings” is not as helpful as saying, “In the meeting with Tina yesterday, I noticed your body language was rather passive.”
3. Explain the impact.
Point out the direct impact that resulted from their behavior, and again be as specific as possible. For example, saying, “When you called the meeting to an end without leaving time for discussion, it made me feel like you did not value the team’s input” or “I noticed that the clients were upset” is much more effective than “When you don’t leave time for a discussion, you look like a control freak!” Statements positioned as “it made me feel” and “I noticed that” can keep an informal feedback session from evolving into a debate.
4. Pause and listen.
When you have said your peace, stop. Then ask for the other person’s reaction. Give them time to think through what you have said and react to it.
5. Suggest concrete next steps.
After you have shared feedback, suggest a small number of actionable next steps that your employee can take in the future, to change this behavior. Most people will appreciate that you’re giving them the first step to improving the situation.