How to Give Feedback Like a Boss

Words matter. When you speak to your employees and coworkers, it isn’t about the technical terms you use as much as it is about communicating effectively. People aren’t going to remember what you said nearly as much as how you made them feel. It is critical to leave your team feeling motivated, empowered, and with a clear focus. Learning how to provide feedback as a boss like a boss is essential to success. 

Don’t forget the positives

When you give feedback, be intentional about the positive. This doesn’t mean making something up nor does it refer to the sandwich effect where you open and end with a positive statement, leaving the criticism as the meat of the sandwich. 

Your team members will see through inauthenticity. There is always something positive to say, even if it takes you a few moments to find it, so be prepared to walk into meetings knowing what positive feedback you will give. You should focus on true performance when highlighting successes.  Move your feelings aside for the employee and focus on their contributions to the organization. It will make your feedback much more effective. 

Be specific

Be honest and specific about their work; don’t sugar coat it.  Identify the specifics of what went wrong and what needs to be improved. Be honest with yourself during this process as well. Sometimes during the course of the conversation, you may discover that change needs to occur on your side of the table. 

Set clear expectations with empathy

Discuss your expectations as well as those of the employees. This takes empathy as you listen carefully for obstacles that may have hindered them from performing to or above standard. Work together to remove those obstacles. Feedback is not criticism. It is an opportunity to coach an employee towards growth, setting new attainable goals. Be open to their feedback as well. Do not take it as criticism but as an opportunity for personal and organizational growth. 

When a problem does arise, be reasonable in your expectations. Don’t dump information on the employee, leaving him/ her feeling overwhelmed. Direct your focus to what is most crucial. Be objective and avoid comments about the person’s personality or personal decisions. Instead, focus on the behaviors and results, offering the tools necessary to improve performance. 

Don’t procrastinate

Don’t wait until there is nothing that can be done and relationships cannot be recovered. In other words, don’t stew on it for a week or wait for the annual performance report. Passive aggression and silence never work. The employee can not make mid-course corrections if they are not made aware of the problem. You didn’t hire a mind reader; communicate clearly from beginning to end. 

Learning to give feedback like a boss is both empowering for you as well as encouraging to those around you. It sounds counterintuitive but countless leadership studies show that one of the biggest challenges team members face is that they simply don’t know what to do. Surveys show that people are either confused about what they are supposed to be working on or are working on objectives that are outside of the company goals. Transparent communication and clear expectations help employees perform at a higher level. Regular, honest feedback helps create an environment where people know exactly what they are supposed to be working on which helps improve overall team morale. 

Susan Word has helped countless professionals provide feedback over the years through direct coaching, seminars, and company training sessions.  Let the Lynch Law Firm help your management team improve their feedback skills. 


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