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When to Give Employee Feedback

In this article I will address what the timing should be to give feedback to an employee using the example of working on a report incorrectly numerous times.

You see an employee do most of the report correctly but they mess up on one part.  This is the third time they have done this report.  Unlike most reports this one had to be done at the last minute, required overtime, and had some more complex parts.  Most likely in the future you will run into this more complex set up.  You know this employee went over the top to get this completed and even missed their son’s football game. It will just take you a second to fix it so you think about just doing it yourself.

What should you do?

In these types of situation, as a leader, you weigh out all the person put in to this and feel “picky” for pointing out the error.  You figure that since it isn’t something that regularly happens you will just fix it and address it later with the employee.

What happens when you do that is you leave the employee believing that what they did was acceptable.  Then if you later come back to address the mistake it seems you are being petty.

The best thing to do is address it immediately.  We learn best by making mistakes and then figuring out what went wrong and how to correct it in the future.

How to give the feedback:

  1. Address the good work they did, the time crunch they were under and the fact that this report included some more complex data then in the past. Show genuine appreciation for all they have done.
  2. Share that you expect future reports will contain more complex data like this so you want to walk through with them what was missing and how to correct it so in the future they will know exactly what to do.
  3. Show them and then let them correct it.
  4. Thank them for the correction.
  5. Debrief what can be done in the future to make it easier to do since these may be coming down the pipe in tighter time frames and with more complex data.

Your body language and wording should be non-accusatory and it shouldn’t be self-conscious.  If you are self-conscious it will come off as though you feel you are wrong to even give the feedback. 

If you have been actively DEBRIEFING with your team/employees, the above is no big deal.  They won’t become defensive or protective.  If you haven’t actively started DEBRIEFING, get your hands on our webinar, “Thinking At The Speed of Light” so you can learn how to properly DEBRIEF. You can find that webinar at http://www.impressionmanagement.com/online/webinars/webinar-archive.


As the leading Outcome Strategist, Anne Warfield shows people how to say the right thing at the right time every time.  The revolutionary Outcome Focus® Approach shows how to build a candid corporate culture of communication that allows you to lead, present and negotiate transformationally rather than transactionally. When applying Outcome Thinking® our client’s results include sales cycles reducing by 75%, turnover reducing by 30%, silos evaporating, and a 25% savings of time by executives.  Find out how you can maximize your corporate culture for greater productivity and results!  Contact us at 888-imp-9421, visit  www.impressionmanagement.com,  or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .