Throughout my career some of my most challenging leadership moments have involved giving feedback to team members.
And I’m not talking about positive feedback. That’s easy and I love it when I have to praise someone for displaying the traits of a great team player; to congratulate someone for winning a new account; or to high-five an individual for salvaging a client that was literally about to slam the door in our face.
I’m talking about negative (ahem … constructive) feedback. I’m starting to sweat just thinking about some of the awkward situations I’ve found myself in over the years.
If the constructive feedback is performance related it makes the conversation slightly easier since you can base your feedback around results (or lack thereof). It’s factual.
But what about those situations which are not performance related? This isn’t a behavioural based interview, so I am going to ask you a few hypothetical questions.
How would you handle these situations?
- One of your team members appears to have forgotten to buy deodorant for a few days and other team members are complaining that working around him is becoming untenable;
- One of your new hires (who seemed very articulate during the interview process) now sounds like a Disney chipmunk and others are embarrassed to listen to her on the phone with potential clients;
- You notice one of your team members “downward spiralling” over the course of a few weeks. He is sniffing and wiping his nose every 30 seconds and you can only assume he has picked up a nasty new ‘extracurricular habit’;
- You’re an advocate for health and wellness. But one of your team members uses the same towel after her shower at the gym and hangs the damp towel over her desk partition every day for a month so that the office starts to smell like a high school gym locker room;
- What about if your office “toilet Nazi” sends you an email outlining in great detail the ‘poor washroom habits’ of one of your top performers demanding you ‘take action immediately’.
When it comes to giving feedback, it’s important to do this in the proper way, or you run the risk of harming your team’s dynamic.
Providing constructive feedback can be a daunting prospect for any manager – new or experienced. But you don’t need to lose sleep over giving feedback, and doing it well can actually help your working relationship with your employees and allow them to grow.
Our friends at Make it Cheaper have created this awesome Infographic on how to best deliver constructive feedback to your employees.