There is tremendous power in giving a steady stream of feedback to your employees regarding their work. People want to know that they are doing a good job and that their efforts matter.
Are you doing this?
Consistently talking with your staff? It’s easy to let a day, week, month…even years go by without saying anything.
You know you are in trouble as a business leader when the only time you actually have a concrete discussion regarding a staff members performance is in their annual review.
This means that you are failing them as a manager, by the way.
Think Differently About Feedback
Starting today, I want you to think differently about employee performance feedback. You aren’t circling the floor like a shark looking to critique things. And certainly, you aren’t looking to play the “Gotcha!” game either.
Managing isn’t about firing off one-liners about what we think about their particular performance. That usually doesn’t help anyone elevate their performance…and depending your body language and tone can actually hurt your overall leadership effectiveness.
Instead, consider rephrasing how you are giving feedback.
When you say, “This 2,000 piece order needs to be produced by 2:00 so it can ship today”, it can be measured and set up for a future positive feedback comment based on the crew’s performance.
But when you say, “You need to move faster” as a comment about the need to finish on time this can be perceived as frustrating, ineffective, and ambiguous.
How you say things is just as important as what you say.
Let’s Talk About Noticing
Observation is an important everyday skill as part of being a good manager. The job entails instances of comparing the current state vs the intended state and determining if things are going to work out or not.
In our industry, there are a tremendous amount of variables that can instantly create a bottleneck that gums up the production schedule if you are not careful.
There is a lot of daily stress that management teams face, and it’s easy to try to position yourself as the only person that can save the day.
However, what’s better is to have your crew think for themselves and learn the proper way to do things. People really don’t want that feedback that managers constantly throw out. What they crave is attention.
Instead of leveling negative or negative-toned criticism at your crew, try thinking about using the concept of “noticing”.
If you are a manager, your relationship with your staff is a key part of your job. Your main task every single day is to try to elevate their performance and make them better.
Regardless of department, everyone has work to do and your job is to ensure that it goes off as frictionless as possible.
A great tool to have in your manager toolbox is the phrase, “I’ve noticed…”
“Fred, I’ve noticed that you work faster when…”
“Cheryl, I’ve noticed that you always follow up with the customer when…”
“Billy, I’ve noticed every morning you are always in a good mood…”
“Tony, I’ve noticed that you do a great job of training other team members…”
“Jake, I’ve noticed that we stay on schedule when…”
“Ann, I noticed that after you encouraged Camila, she…”
Behaviors And Strengths
The goal with the “I’ve noticed…” exercise is to reinforce positive behaviors and your employee’s strengths.
Identify what’s great, and then highlight that trait so it occurs again.
Your job as a leader is to notice behaviors that mirror your company’s Core Values, and strengths that constantly produce positive results.
“Hey Ricardo, I noticed you stayed an extra fifteen minutes to finish that job today instead of leaving it for tomorrow. That certainly will go a long way with our client!”
“Karen, I noticed that when you pull and organize today for tomorrow’s production that our expedited freight has taken a noticeable drop. Keep it up!”
“Everyone, I noticed that since we implemented the new quality control program, our error rate has been cut by 43%.”
“Sally, I noticed that since we moved to 100% cash upfront for payments, our ability to pay our bills and make payroll is much easier.”
Why This Works
When you don’t bother to interact with your team, they begin to wonder why. People want to know where they stand and how they are doing.
It’s called being human.
Our brains are wired for interaction and status checks. But they are also wired for danger.
So what happens when your employees aren’t getting regular feedback and managerial interaction? They think something is wrong. Some assume their jobs are at risk. They trust their managers less.
In their brain, it’s all doom and gloom. But in yours, it’s preoccupied with higher-level challenges.
That interaction is the key to good team morale. Radio silence is the opposite of that. People begin to imagine the worst.
You have to make time for your people. They need to hear and see you.
I’ve Noticed You Need Some Homework
Here’s some homework for you. I want you to start trying to notice one good thing every day with everyone that works for your company. No matter how trivial or immensely important, your job is to notice a positive thing from each employee.
Then, use these words, “I’ve noticed that…” Start a meaningful conversation that highlights a positive aspect of someone’s job.
Please share the highlights of those conversations in the comments below so everyone can learn and grow from them!
“I’ve noticed that when there are more comments, we all learn!”
“If you get honest feedback and do nothing about it, then the feedback will stop.” – Alan Mulally
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas Edison
“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.” – Ben Franklin