Rules for Giving Feedback


By:  Dale Mask

Measure the performance that you get to the performance that you want. With measurable standards of performance established up-front, this is fairly straight forward. If you have not established standards, you will want to establish them with the employee now.

Rule #1.  Relate to Behavior – Not Attitude 

If the work does not meet the established standards, relate to that issue alone. Do not get caught in the “attitude trap.” As they say, everyone has an attitude. You can relate to the attitude as good or bad, but it has no relevance to the work getting done right. It would be great if they loved doing the work, but, because they like or dislike the work, their attitude toward any aspect of the work is no excuse for not performing the work to standards.

You may disagree with this philosophy. But let me ask, do you like everything you do in your job? No. Does that mean you do not need to do it? Does that mean you do not have to get the work done correctly and on time? Likewise, you have the right to expect your employees to get the work done according to standards.

Relate specifically to the behaviors the individual displays. Describe what you heard and saw, and how those behaviors impact the employee’s ability to achieve the desired results.

Rule #2.  Relate to Future Behavior

Make certain what you are dealing with is within the employee’s control. Find out what the employee’s perceptions are. He or she may identify an issue you were not aware of that you can alter to improve their performance. Another possibility is that they perceive they have no control over the situation when, in fact, they do. Your communication here will help them understand how a different approach and new behaviors can change the outcomes.

Rule #3.  Communicate Clearly

Ask questions to make certain there is clear understanding. Using questions creates two-way communication allowing you to surface and clear up any misunderstandings about what happened or what needs to change. Asking questions gets their involvement and helps you avoid lecturing or preaching to them. With their involvement, you will get a higher level of buy-in for them to make changes in their behavior.

Rule #4.  Follow-up

Make the effort to give positive reinforcement when the individual uses the newly defined behaviors. Without positive reinforcement, the new behaviors will not continue. People not only need to know when they do something right, they also need to know the effort to change has value. Failing to provide positive reinforcement, you may be seen as just trying to catch them doing things wrong. You will be seen as ‘out to get them.’

By:  Dale Mask

© 2015 Alliance Training and Consulting, Inc.



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