Feedback in a workplace is an essential tool to ensure the efficiency of work. Positive feedback can boost people’s morale and help them feel better at work. However, positive feedback doesn’t always ensure efficiency. There is a thin line between positive feedback & corrective feedback, and that thin line can make all the difference in terms of productivity and efficiency. Corrective feedback intends to modify or improve a learner’s thinking or behavior by redirecting it and providing support when they make an error.
Irrespective of your role and level, receiving and giving corrective feedback is essential. It helps to:
- improve performance & cooperation
- eliminate loopholes & blind spots
- strengthen relationships & trust
- enable positive change & better understanding of requirements
Like with positive feedback, there is also a thin line between corrective feedback and criticism. Public criticism never works; it lowers morale and deteriorates efficiency. Corrective feedback falls in between positive feedback and criticism, with the aim of providing critical feedback constructively.
In this article, we will talk about how you can work with corrective feedback effectively through various practices. Let’s begin.
Corrective feedback can be a stressful experience, regardless of how respectfully it is provided. When we combine the element of transparency with it, the experience can become more haunting for the receiver. However, transparency is essential to maintain clarity, especially when working in teams. So, how can we ensure transparency in corrective feedback without being disrespectful?
Combine teamwork with transparency. Instead of publicly providing corrective feedback as a manager, ask the employee to talk to team members s/he’s comfortable around for understanding blind spots. As a manager, you may come across as rude while providing corrective feedback in front of the entire team. On the other hand, mentoring employees to speak with other team members about their blind spots transparently will exhibit practical leadership skills on your end. Convey the importance of learning and improving oneself, and then undertake the process of coaching and mentoring your teams. You can also allot different mentors to employees who need to improve in certain areas. As a manager or leader, you have access to information that regular employees don’t. Use it to your advantage by understanding which employees can help mentor others. This process will also strengthen internal communication while ensuring your corrective feedback gets through positively.
You can also conduct team-wide open discussions about values, desirable behaviors, and competencies to strengthen team cooperation. Talk about what efficiency means to them, how often they seek peer feedback, and how they will evaluate themselves against the team’s expectations. This will facilitate self-realization and help you guide the entire team to carry out corrective feedback themselves.
Maintaining transparency in teams is essential to strengthen rapport and avoid conflicts over misunderstandings. But when it comes to corrective feedback, you must ensure transparency with respect. If not, it can be detrimental to growth and negate its entire purpose.
Corrective feedback must be specific. As corrective feedback aims at redirecting an employee’s thinking or actions for better performance, being specific about the blind spots is crucial to ensure effectiveness. Simply informing employees about the need for improvement without conveying the needful areas will yield no results.
Be specific with your observations and convey the key points. Give suggestions as to how they can improve in the required area and provide them with the necessary resources as well. Give your inputs along with the corrective feedback and convey your expectations so that it builds a guiding path for the employee to follow and understand where they are lacking.
A balanced perspective of positive and negative aspects is crucial to provide corrective feedback. Instead of misleading by pointing out only the positives or fiercely blunt by voicing only the negatives, striking a balance is essential to work with corrective feedback effectively.
Combining balance with specificity, you must convey how individuals still have room to grow or improve their work. Give them goals to strive for, and be specific with what’s good & what’s wrong about the outcome. Framing conversations by conveying how the individual’s work has been more impressive in the past and how you have faith in their ability to improve the current project can be helpful. Be truthful without being hurtful, and express how the deliverables can be improved constructively.
What is the point of feedback if it is not timely or punctual? You cannot expect your input to generate results if you provide it weeks after a project has been submitted. You must be punctual with your feedback.
Delayed feedback is unprofessional and ineffective. It cannot yield fruitful results as you didn’t provide it at the needful time. So, try to make corrective feedback as timely as possible to not compromise its relevance. Corrective feedback needs to be punctual to be actionable and drive behavioral change. It helps ensure that necessary changes are made as quickly as possible. Additionally, it facilitates continuous learning with increased engagement.
Feedback-driven actions are essential to every workplace. Irrespective of the industry or job role, corrective feedback can provide exceptional benefits like provoking change, increasing engagement, fueling growth, and strengthening relationships. Blending it with action can also create a culture of continuous learning.
Giving corrective feedback effectively requires you to be respectfully transparent, ensure specificity, strike a healthy balance between the positives & negatives, and be timely. With these practices, you can successfully work with corrective feedback and use it as a powerful tool to boost employee performance.