How Honest Feedback Can Keep Your Employees Motivated

How Honest Feedback Can Keep Your Employees Motivated

Management experts believe that several organisational issues are traceable to decisions, practices, and management policies rather than employee behaviour. Generally, employees respond to a given situation, and their actions are a result rather than a cause.


Sometimes, management finds the response favourable to their thinking and goals while at others they may feel it's antagonistic. However, motivating favourable responses remains a crucial issue for organisational success. A carrot and a stick approach in a balanced way should be used to motivate employees to perform well.


Organisations use tangible (a raise, time-off, foreign travel) and intangible (better placement, more responsibilities, etc.) methods to reward employees and show appreciation. They play a vital role in boosting employee performance. Another handy and widely used method for motivating employees is positive feedback.


Positive Feedback Helps


Feedback is crucial for employee and team performance. Employees want to be part of a winning team, and they need feedback on their contribution. However, not all managers communicate feedback effectively, frequently, and meaningfully.


Effective delivery of positive feedback depends on the choice of the right moment when an event has just happened. Specific feedback and appreciation about what met your expectations and what is desirable provide the receiver guidance for future actions.


That is why individual feedback on particular performance works to motivate the receiver to achieve higher goals set for the team and the organisation. The success of an organisation depends on continuous improvement in employees’ performance. Specific and frequent feedback (even every week), is seen to work wonders in employees competing to contribute to achieving goals.


Correctly Positioned Negative Feedback Helps Too


Providing and receiving feedback puts the giver and the receiver in a vulnerable position. That is why most business owners and managers feel awkward to give negative feedback. But there are ways to pass on the bitter pill, mixed with sweetness. This is how you do it:

  • Show humility to create a relationship, so that the employee hears you better.
  • Communicate any issues about employee’s performance as soon as you recognise it, but without a tough stance or unhappy tone.
  • Avoid sandwiching negative feedback with positive comments because it fudges the message.
  • Lead with intent by letting the employee know that a team’s performance can improve with improvement in his/her performance. Use some facts and a firm but pleasant tone.
  • Explain how an employee’s behaviour impacts you and the organisation and the necessary improvement to reach the goals set for the team.
  • Make sure that the employee understands your concerns and accepts your guidance for improvement.

If the employee is hesitant or unwilling to comply, you need to broach the issues further to arrive at some understanding. Like a skilled communicator, try and make it a 360-degree conversation instead of a dump. Despite all the right efforts, if an employee continues to perform poorly, you are left with no other option but to escalate the feedback using appropriate techniques.


For a manager, getting the desired performance from a team is the goal. Communicating negative feedback is an unpleasant task for a manager. Team members perform differently at different times and need to receive positive and negative feedback as the situation demands.


The Balancing Act


The purpose of feedback is to make the adjustments that make a winning team. In the process, while the rewards are for excellent performance, consequences follow a lousy performance. A successful manager needs to practice giving positive and negative feedback regularly to improve the team's performance.


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