"Bad news isn't wine. It doesn't improve with age." ~Colin Powell
"What is not started today is never finished tomorrow." ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
I talk a lot about trying to manage everything that surrounds your department for maximum effectiveness. Good news, bad news, music, clutter, training, vacations, routine tasks, special projects, etc. The downside of that is that we can make it an excuse to delay certain tasks while we look for the best way to manage it for maximum effectiveness. For certain things timeliness is a huge factor in effectiveness and I can’t think of a better example than employee feedback.
While you want to manage your approach to feedback and tailor the message to the individual, making it timely has huge benefits for your message:
Makes it more impactful – One of the keys to feedback is being able to present an example of the behavior you liked/disliked. When you give immediate feedback the example is as vivid in the mind as possible, this makes your feedback easier to buy into for the employee.
Get the immediate benefit – The idea behind feedback is to improve performance. Based on that goal, the quicker you give it, the quicker you can get the performance boost you’re looking for.
Gives more of it – Most of us struggle with being able to give as much feedback as we would like to or that we need to. By giving the feedback immediately you will be training yourself to give more by increasing the frequency.
Gives attention and makes you present – One of the other things that many of us struggle with is being pulled in too many directions which makes it difficult for us to be “present” in the operation and see what is occurring. By focusing on giving feedback immediately you are naturally more aware of what is occurring now.
Sounds like a winning leadership technique right?!?! Well there are only a couple of caveats I want to mention with this technique. While positive feedback can be given out as much and in any way you like, it is the negative feedback that needs a little special attention:
Compose your bad news – One thing I have seen with those who give regular and immediate feedback is that if the negative feedback is not tailored correctly they can come off as insensitive and callous which diminishes the impact instead of increasing the impact.
Don’t be a machine gun – The other issue with negative feedback is when you notice and mention one thing after another in quick succession. Nobody likes getting negative feedback, but when you get a quick string of it the impact of it becomes increasingly demoralizing with every “blow” that hits you. You want to give the feedback, but perhaps you should hold some back for greater impact later.
But with those two caveats mentioned I encourage you to give feedback as quickly as possible, it shows you care, you are involved in the operation and gives you the maximum benefit.
I would love to know your thoughts on this post so please leave your likes and comments below. Also, if you haven't checked out any of my three books yet, give them a look here, I am absolutely positive they will be a great help in your career!