Giving employee feedback can be difficult for managers, especially those who dislike conflict. Nonetheless, employees need both positive and constructive feedback to grow personally and professionally.
The issue is that most managers don’t know to provide developmental employee feedback, or even realize the most important ingredient before delivering constructive criticism. Without this ingredient, these conversations can fall flat and leave employees feeling unappreciated and just like a number.
What is the most important ingredient in delivering effective constructive employee feedback?
The #1 ingredient to rocking any constructive employee feedback conversation is, (drum roll, please!): Sincere relationship-building.
If a manager has not taken the time to build relationships with those they lead first, they will fail at delivering employee feedback. What do I mean when I refer to “sincere relationship-building” with employees?
- Take time to understand what your people are going through inside and outside of work, by sitting with them one-on-one
- Be there to uplift them when they miss a goal and when they accomplish something they set their sights on
- Be on the lookout for ways to grow and leverage their strengths
- Help them to see that their perceived obstacles are just opportunities to be more and better than yesterday
- Be their biggest advocate
When managers focus on sincere relationship building with their employees, they set themselves up for success when it is time to deliver constructive criticism on a project, process or interaction. Managers are human. Employees are longing for their managers’ receptivity to connecting in the ways I described above.
When a manager resolves to show up in these ways, any piece of constructive feedback feels just like one more way that they care for those they lead. It doesn’t feel like a negative, but like they are moving one step closer to embracing their team members for all they bring to the table and for all they will become.