Often as I work with owners of small businesses, I find that an easy goal to achieve is the improvement their teamwork. At the base of motivating their team members, I find many business leaders make a common mistake when they think feedback is about behaviour correction rather than individual motivation.
Feedback often and directly
Virtually no one thinks they get enough feedback, because virtually no one gives enough. So I would encourage you to give your feedback promptly while the event is fresh in everybody’s mind and any improvement lessons are clear to see.
Be specific and in context
Before you give feedback, I want you to provide a specific context to each of your comments: “I want to talk about the report you wrote yesterday. "
Then point to what went well and what did not for the individual or your team and I urge you to always describe actual behaviours.
Then follow your point by expressing the impact of the event, to explain why it is important to you and how you felt about it.
Have the right ratios
Everyone enjoys praise, so I insist that you point out the individual’s strengths first and give at least six positive comments for every negative one. Remember that you are giving feedback for the other person’s benefit and so your business will perform better.
Even if a mistake has cost you money, avoid shouting and screaming because that will just demotivate your staff and encourage them to change employer. Rather you should reframe the event as a training investment where you and your employee can learn to do better next time.
Then listen for their feedback
Make sure that you give your staff an agreed way forward particularly when they have taken critical feedback. I usually offer individuals the chance to reflect overnight and then to come back to me with their response at a later time and place.
Try asking at the close of your next conversation: “What difference does this feedback make to you?" Be ready for a short silence … even a surprised one … but hang in there and listen for their answer. And you will become a better boss, leading a better team.
Adrian Pepper coaches business people who want to improve their performance in the business, personal and social areas of their lives. He has enabled many clients to define which goals would satisfy them and then plot how to achieve them with minimum frustration and maximum benefit. You can contact him through his website at http://www.help4you.ltd.uk or by phone +44-7773-380133. At http://feeds.feedburner.com/help4you , you can listen to his podcast for small businesses.