Improving Employee Performance through Feedback

Leadership Coaching with Mel Brown

During the workshops I conduct for organization executives, managers and supervisors, a major concern is frequently how to become more effective in raising the quality of the performance of the people they supervise.

In addressing the concerns of the workshop participants, one of the things I point out is that employees are not mind readers. If they are not performing as their supervisor expects, then they must be provided with appropriate feedback.

An effective organization functions like a team in which the organization’s executives, managers and supervisors must coach their employees to increasingly higher levels of performance.
With tongue in cheek, I tell workshop participants, “A good coach knows that, regardless of what Wheaties tells you, feedback is the breakfast of champions!”
Good coaches also know that in order to have a winning team, the players need to know what their job is, (job descriptions, policies and procedures and new employee orientation), non-performance or poor performance is addressed, and feedback is not limited to addressing only non-performance or poor performance. Good performance also needs to be recognized and rewarded.

The term “feedback” is often used to describe all kinds of comments made after the fact, including advice, praise, and evaluation. However, these actions may or may not include feedback. Feedback is actually communication to a person or a team of people regarding the effect their behavior is having on another person, the organization, the customer, or the team.
Positive feedback involves telling someone about good performance and should be given frequently.
Corrective feedback alerts an individual to an area in which his/her performance could improve. Corrective feedback is not criticism; it is descriptive and should always be directed to the action, not the person. Its purpose is to help people understand where they stand in relation to expected and/or productive job behavior.
Effective feedback contains six key ingredients. Those ingredients are timeliness, specificity, a focus on behavior rather than personality, honesty, helpfulness and consistency.