How do you give feedback that actually works?

Most managers struggle to give feedback because they are never taught an effective way. Just by being promoted into a leadership role doesn’t mean that the ability to give feedback is bestowed upon you as if by magic.

I learnt a fantastic quote when I spent two days at the Disney Institute a number of years ago – “Managers have to be bold, brave and honest. They have to say what has to be said, when it needs to be said, to the person it needs to be said to, whether they like it or not.” This quote is all about letting your team members know where they are at, calling them on their actions and providing a consequence for their performance.

Too many times I experience poor service and I often talk with managers who struggle with their staff’s performance and are afraid (or don’t know how to) to do something about it. From my experience, most staff are open to receiving feedback on their performance – and if they aren’t, they shouldn’t be working for you!! As I mentioned the challenge is how to provide feedback so staff don’t get their back up and become defensive.

I read an article by author of The Talent Code, Daniel Coyle that shared the 19 words that form the best employee feedback. These words are based on research carried out by psychologists at Stanford, Yale, Columbia Universities, who looked at the type of feedback school teachers give to students about essays.

The researchers found one type of feedback resonated with students more than other types and a particular phrase encouraged the students to revise their efforts, leading to improved performance.

The “magical” phrase contains just 19 words:

“I’m giving you these comments because I have very high expectations, and I know that you can reach them.”

This simple phrase, according to Coyle, creates a sense of belonging and connection.

What a great phrase, if your team are open to feedback, they should now be willing to listen to what you have to say next.

Roger Simpson – CEO, The Retail Solution and Author of “The Ultimate Retail Sales Experience” With over 35 years’ industry experience, Roger Simpson is recognized as Australia’s #1 Authority on customer ROI in the retail industry and as a global expert on staff coaching, customer service, and selling skills.