A tough part of being a manager is giving honest, actionable feedback to your employees.
It might seem appealing to have quarterly reviews, or only address major problems as they arise. But Dwight Merriman, co-founder and chairman of open-source document database MongoDB, tells the New York Times that he thinks feedback is best given in frequent small doses.
“One tactic is just to have lots of small conversations so that they don’t become elephants in the room,” Merriman says. Be specific by telling your employee what you think he or she could do differently, he explains, and offer your reasoning.
Merriman says that to give feedback on minor issues, he usually opts to send the person an email. But, he adds, make sure to be mindful of tone.
“You have to be clear and not hyperbolic, because an email could come across the wrong way,” he says. “I’m understated by personality anyway, but I’m more understated in email because it’s easier to be misunderstood.”