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Here at Own The Room, we say that feedback is a gift. During our communication skills training, we encourage everyone to not only ask for feedback on their presentations but to demand it. Insights from others are important because they can help us see elements of our communication style – verbal and nonverbal – that we cannot always see.
In the workplace, the holiday season often means lots of feedback: performance reviews. This means that we will most likely be on the receiving end of feedback and sometimes on the giving end of it as well. Below are tips for handling both situations.
GIVING FEEDBACK AS A MANAGER
- Explain the Structure of the Conversation First – Performance reviews can be intimidating. Put the employee at ease by letting them know the meeting agenda before you start, so that there are no surprises and you can run through each item smoothly.
- Tell Stories to Support your Feedback – Use examples of times when the person fulfilled expectations and concrete times that they could have approached a situation in a different way. When applicable, tell stories from your own career that exhibit the behavior you would like to see.
- Be Honest and Direct – According to the Harvard Business Review, when delivering positive or constructive feedback, avoid buzzwords (such as “disruptor” and “innovator”) and instead explain how the employee is doing well. At Own The Room, we use the ratio of three strokes of love to one stroke of improvement, always focusing first on the positives. That said, when dealing with underperformers, HBR recommends that you do not sugarcoat their performance.
- Leave Room for Questions – Use this time to create a dialogue and understand your employee’s goals and challenges. Ask open-ended questions and practice active listening. Similarly, make sure to allow time for your employee to ask questions from you and level set for the coming year
RECEIVING FEEDBACK IN YOUR PERFORMANCE REVIEW
- Come Prepared – Be ready to articulate the ways you have met and exceeded expectations this year. Your review does not have to be a passive process; it can be a conversation.
Give Your Full Attention – Your performance review is one of the few moments that can be all about you! Do not bring distractions into the meeting. Make good eye contact and use open body language to show that you are willing to absorb what your manager is saying.
- Turn Negative Feedback into Positives – Negative feedback is data from which we can learn. See it not as an attack on you but as a way to help you get better. Develop an action plan with your manager that includes small, measurable goals to improve on your weaker areas.
- Say “Thank You” – Any piece of feedback is a gift. Pieces of feedback from those who work closest with you can be hard to deliver and hard to swallow, but they can also be the most valuable opinions.
- Ask for Regular Evaluations – Nothing should come as a surprise during a scheduled review, as you should be asking for feedback regularly to make sure you are tracking against your goals correctly.