Five Rules for Giving Feedback

There is a right way to tell employees how their performance measures up.

April 1, 2012

Leadership requires telling employees how their performance measures up, according to “How to Lead by The Book: Proverbs, Parables, and Principles to Tackle Your Toughest Business Challenges."

“How to Lead” offers five rules to help managers make the most of their feedback:

  1. Don’t delay. Give feedback as quickly as possible after an action. Delayed consequences lessen the impact of your message and can render feedback as a mere afterthought.
  2. Be specific. Being precise accomplishes two things: You let other people know that you appreciate them enough to pay attention to exactly what they did, and you reinforce positive behavior.
  3. Share praise. A pat on the back causes most people to try even harder in the future.
  4. Know your audience. Customize your feedback to the individual—you’ve got to know people to be able to inspire action.
  5. Be consistent. Failing to confront unsatisfactory behavior invites more of the same.