3 Ways to Tailor Feedback for Optimal Performance

Feedback blog

When giving feedback on job performance, one size does not fit all.

Some employees may shrivel at suggestions, while others may thrive on direct and honest critique.

How feedback is delivered plays a significant role in the manager-employee relationship. So much so that Indeed lists “seeking a better management relationship” as one of the top five reasons employees leave their jobs.

How can managers tailor feedback so they are sensitive to personality differences while still being effective?

Tip #1: Know What Motivates Based on Personality Type

One way to tailor feedback is to think about whether an employee is an introvert or an extrovert.  In an informal feedback situation, extroverts will be more comfortable receiving praise in front of others. “For constructive feedback, although extroverts are comfortable in social settings, always consider whether the conversation is appropriate for a group setting or better to be held in private. Introverts will be more comfortable receiving feedback in a private setting,” says Impraise.

A sensitive-thinking personality (as identified by Myers-Briggs) may be overly critical of their own work and respond best to feedback that is specific and concrete with detailed examples.  Someone who is sensitive and feeling may take negative feedback personally.  Managers should be sure to emphasize strengths before suggesting any growth opportunities (Impraise).

Intuitive type personalities need to have a high degree of respect for the manager and must always feel supported in a performance review.

Tip# 2: Tailor Feedback to Business Outcomes

Some of the best metrics to focus on in performance reviews include whether employees are effective, efficient, and always learning/improving, says Workable.

When evaluating employees on these metrics, managers should focus the conversation on business outcomes.  “Business outcomes should be your starting place for giving feedback,” says Cynthia Phoel of Harvard Business Review. “You need to develop talent, boost sales, improve service. When feedback is framed as a means to reach a specific business goal, it becomes an opportunity to solve a problem rather than criticize.”

Many companies are turning to strengths-based feedback approaches. Scientifically, this has proven most effective.  Elif Suner of Forbes cites a Gallup study where employees noted an increase in confidence, self-awareness, and production when feedback focuses on strengths.

Even with a strength focus, critiques can be necessary for growth.  When delivering suggestions for improvement, managers should frame these as a part of an employee’s development and show genuine interest in career goals.

Tip #3: Feedback Has to Be Given Often; Allow for Input

Managers should meet regularly with employees so there is never any ambiguity about how an employee is performing. “Practice giving feedback often; soon it will become a habit,” says Phoel of Harvard Business Review. “Praise good performance right away. When negative feedback is required, talk with the employee within 24 hours.”

Feedback should be a two-way conversation: ask employees to respond to feedback and brainstorm steps moving forward together.  Make sure there are action steps to take, and these steps are things the employee has control over.  Focus on the future and not the past.

Involving the employee in the review can take the form of self-evaluation or it can be questioning and waiting for input during a review.  Getting an employee involved will help the employee invest in the suggestions and the two-way communication can clear up any discrepancies.

With feedback, the goal is always growth.  Managers want to respect employees’ individual personalities and strengthen relationships with communication focused on business outcomes.

Artemis Consultants believes that no matter what your technology and services are, people are your biggest assets.  Use feedback to foster relationships, to motivate, and to grow employees’ skills.

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