Feedback That Motivates Your Team

August 26, 2014

by Dan Richards

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Last week’s article outlined new research into how to motivate your team. One of the best strategies is giving consistent, quality feedback. Here are nine ways to provide feedback that motivates your team.

  1. Agree on job expectations: The starting point for effective feedback is clear expectations on both sides. A written job description is a good point of departure, but that’s all it is. You also need to have a well-defined frame of reference against which to provide feedback. You can define this frame of reference in regular, open and frank conversations about what is expected of your team.
  1. Make feedback frequent: The days of employees nervously entering one-hour annual performance reviews are behind us. People want frequent feedback. That’s especially true of the younger generation just entering the workforce. Plan on having informal conversations at least quarterly and in some cases more often. These don’t have to be lengthy — sometimes a short 10- or 15-minute conversation will do. And you don’t need to complete a time-consuming evaluation form. A one-page summary of performance against key measures will do the trick. And while verbal feedback matters most, for clarity it still makes sense to follow up with a short email summarizing your conversation.
  2. Make feedback immediate: Feedback is most effective when it’s immediate – both positive to praise a job well done and less positive when there’s an issue. So between those regularly scheduled sit-downs to discuss overall performance, some of the most effective feedback can be shorter sessions to talk about specific situations.
  3. Make feedback specific: When providing feedback, both positive and negative, the more specific the better. This is especially the case when you’re looking for a change. Rather than generalities, such as “You need to be more responsive to client s” or “You have to be more careful”,  be specific about instances of the behavior you’re either looking to after with comments like  I’d like you to return calls more quickly” and “You need to be more careful about entering orders,”

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