Don’t describe traits.
For example, “You need to be more analytical.” This can be construed as an attack on their personality rather than their actions.
Do discuss the specific outcome being questioned.
For example, review a project that resulted in an undesirable or ineffective outcome and discuss more effective strategies with the employee for future projects.
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Do focus on behavior, rather than character.
For example, instead of noting how an individual’s action was “not smart,” focus on proactive feedback, such as posing the question: “What could you have done differently?” This allows an open dialogue for both the employer and employee to discuss more effective strategies for such projects.
Don’t provide feedback in a way that can be misconstrued.
Because the tone of our voice can dictate the way someone receives a message, especially in the context of receiving feedback, it is imperative that you are conscientious of your tone and how you deliver feedback.
Do provide both written and verbal feedback in-person.
In providing feedback in-person, you can clearly convey your feedback in a tone that cannot be misconstrued. It also provides the opportunity to address any misconstrued messages in real time, as well as provide the employee the opportunity to ask questions for clarification, explanations for any deficiencies of skills or decisions, and to work together to resolve any issues and ensure the employee feels safe, motivated, and supported.
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