Feedback is important, but as the saying goes “It’s not what you say, but how you say it.”
If you give feedback the wrong way, especially virtually, it can negatively impact your relationships at work to devastating effect!
This blog will help you structure and deliver feedback more efficiently and effectively while working virtually, whether to your colleagues, your team members or even more senior staff.
Be confident enough to speak out
We all know it’s important to pick our battles. Sometimes it’s best to leave things and the problem resolves itself. However, if the same mistake or issue keeps happening and has a negative impact on the productivity or morale of your team, it’s critical to have the confidence to speak up.
This also requires the skill of being assertive, rather than passive or aggressive. People who are too passive don’t have the confidence to speak up, whereas people who are aggressive often shout at others or give feedback in a rude manner that causes offence.
Put yourself in the other person’s shoes. Try to understand the challenges and pressures they are under before giving feedback. While it’s preferable to keep your feedback conversations brief, if you show some empathy at the start of the conversation it can land better.
“I know you have been under a lot of pressure recently to meet the end of year target. The way that you spoke to me in the recent meeting felt aggressive. I hope you can speak to me more respectfully in the future.”
Be specific – give examples
When giving feedback, give specific examples and explain the impact of those actions, rather than just generic observations. In this way the feedback will be clearer and much easier to understand and implement.
Leave time for the other person to speak
After giving your feedback, try to pause, let the other person reflect and give them the chance to share their opinion if they wish. Don’t push them to respond to your feedback immediately.
Depending on their natural behaviour style, they may need time to process what you shared. Also be aware others might respond immediately and explode! Or hopefully just apologise or give their side of what happened.
Use video if you can
Where possible call the person via Zoom or Teams and turn your video on. There fewer chances for misunderstanding when communicating over video call as you can read each other’s body language.
Don’t shy away from giving feedback. In many ways, with so much uncertainty and change going on, it’s more important than ever. Use these tips to support your team and deliver feedback effectively – they will thank you in the long run, honest!
If you’re interested in developing key management skills like giving feedback and performance management, take a look at STL’s Professional and Management Development training programmes,especially our Managing Teams Remotely course.