No matter who you are or where you work, it’s very likely that you struggle with giving feedback to the people around you. It’s hard to tell others what we think of them and their work!
Even though many people feel this same way, it’s essential to remember that If you want to grow at work and in your career, it’s crucial that you engage regularly in feedback conversations with both your manager and your direct reports. No matter what industry you work in or what your job title is, getting honest, productive feedback is totally necessary if you want to learn new things and master new skills. Make it a top priority to regularly check in with your team to show your coworkers that you care about your own personal growth and theirs.
If you aren’t prepared, feedback conversations can be even more challenging. To minimize the likelihood of an awkward conversation, here are a few tips:
- Take time to prepare ahead of the meeting. If the conversation is inherently negative in nature, it’s even more important that you take time to think about what you want to say and prepare for your colleague’s reaction.
- Role play can go a long way in making the conversation easier. Providing tough insight to people you work with can be a challenge, so it is important to make sure that you feel calm and collected when you head into these conversations.
- Even if you don’t mean to, it can be hard to speak up in a way that doesn’t upset the other person. We all know it can be difficult for people to hear a critique of their work performance and not take what you say personally. Remind yourself that you are coming from a well-meaning place and don’t take it personally if your colleague gets upset.
- Offer concrete strategies to help them improve to show that you care. If you are just attacking someone, you wouldn’t have ideas for how to help. But if you do, that shows you want things to be different and have specific suggestions.
- Ask yourself the reason that you are offering the criticism. If it’s genuinely because you need to have the conversation for the business’s sake, or because you want to help someone improve, it’s likely an important conversation you need to be having. If your reason for critique is to boost your own ego, proceed with caution and take some time to really think things through before engaging in the conversation. It’s likely that this is not a feedback conversation that you want to be a part of!
If you struggle with giving constructive feedback, do not worry for another minute! Small-business financial company Fundera created this interesting infographic that will help increase your confidence when you are faced with giving criticism to a colleague. Take a look:
Though it’s tough to give criticism, make sure that you do not shy away from these discussions! If your company prioritizes clear and consistent feedback, you are much more likely to have engaged employees and experience less turnover. Your employees will also be much more likely to have a clear understanding of their overall performance, which means that they will have greater opportunity to grow and advance. These conversations get easier over time, so make sure to practice and prepare so that you begin to feel less intimidated.
Meredith Wood is Editor-in-Chief at Fundera. Specializing in financial advice for small business owners, Meredith is a current and past contributor to Yahoo!, Amex OPEN Forum, Fox Business, SCORE, AllBusiness and more.