Giving professional, non-biased feedback can be difficult. You don’t want to hurt the recipient’s feelings, but you need to point out any flaws in performance. There are a few ways that you can give professional feedback without damaging the other person’s ego. Read on to learn how to offer balanced feedback.
Start on a Good Note
Before jumping into criticisms, start with something positive. Depending on the recipient, you may have to think hard to come up with something but it will make criticisms easier to digest. For example, “I appreciate that you show up on time every day” or “You were very confident in your presentation yesterday”.
Make Criticisms Constructive
When offering criticisms, make sure they are constructive. Constructive criticism offers ways to improve upon flaws rather than just pointing out problems. Offer realistic ways that your employee or coworker can improve upon weaknesses. For example, “Maybe you could add more data to your reports next time.” Criticism is useless without advice on ways to improve.
End with Praise
Just as you should start with something positive, you should also end with something good. Ending with praise and appreciation helps ease the sting of any criticism offered. For example, “You always go out of your way to help coworkers and it’s greatly appreciated.” During your wrap-up, try to keep the overall feeling positive while still reminding the other person of areas that need improvement.
Ask for Questions
Finally, ask if the other person has any questions. This gives them the opportunity to assess exactly what you need in terms of improved performance. It also demonstrates you are willing to take time to help with their professional development.
What if your feedback is all negative? Be direct but constructive. It may hurt the recipient’s feelings but if the action (or inaction) is causing problems, it has to be addressed in a way that leaved no room for misinterpretation. However, in most cases, it should be easy to identify one or two positive traits or actions of an employee.