Should a manager provide feedback to his/her employees? How often should that feedback process be done? What is the impact if that is not done? What sort of culture does this promote? Why does it seem to be a growing concern?
As we think about all of these questions, let me provide you with a situation that will shed some light on these questions.
A young professional advised me that the organisation that they work for is not good at providing feedback to its employees. The manager that this employee reports to has not provided any feedback whatsoever since the employee started. As a relatively new young professional, this employee is somewhat hesitant to ask for feedback as it would appear to be not offered readily. Feedback is important to this employee as it is too many of us. In order to grow on a professional basis and perhaps even on a personal basis we do require feedback on a regular basis.
So, what would you consider to be an appropriate time frame for providing feedback? To properly answer that we would want to know more about each of our employees. Each of us feeds off of motivators’ feedback in a different way. Some of us may require daily doses of feedback, while others are comfortable with a weekly feedback session. You really do need to know your employees and what their needs are.
The young professional that I spoke with, indicated that they were not sure how to broach the topic with their manager. There appeared to be a lack of communication as little communication had taken place since the hiring/orientation process. We discussed a couple of approaches to deal with this situation. The first is to communicate to the manager the desire to meet to obtain feedback on their performance. That communication can be done verbally or in writing. The idea is to give the manager time to prepare for the meeting – this facilitates better feedback and alleviates putting the manager on the spot on short notice – which could result in a confrontational situation. The second approach is to drop by the manager’s office and ask if they have time to chat for a few moments. For this to work well, you would need a manager that has an open door policy and has a good understanding of each of his/her employees.
The young professional we have been talking about was going to take the approach to contact the manager ahead of time and give them time to prepare some feedback. It was suggested that the employee should indicate the desire for a regularly scheduled time for feedback and that this should be scheduled prior to the end of the first meeting.
Feedback does not need to be limited to a scheduled time. It can happen when it is the most appropriate – either at the time feedback is required, or at a later time frame. Feedback done when a task has just been completed is always the best.
As the demographics of our work force begins to shift to that of emerging talent we will need to focus on providing feedback to these employees on a regular basis. It is through that feedback that we can better prepare them to take on the challenges that lie ahead. It is through that feedback that we can ensure that they are prepared to be our future leaders of tomorrow.
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