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Praise vs Criticism

Performance ManagementFeedback is the key to nurturing good performance, and it’s something that we can all benefit from. Praise for a job well done will make employees more likely to do the same again, and constructive criticism for poor work will flag any areas that need to be improved and stop mistakes from reoccurring.

In this month’s ‘How to’ guide we go through our tried and tested seven-point plan to effective feedback, we also consider the employees' response and behaviour after receiving feedback.

1. Preparation

  • How will the feedback affect him/her?
  • What exact words will you use?
  • How would you feel if someone said that to you?
  • What can you say to maintain his/her self-esteem?
  • Is the timing right? If not, is it best left unsaid?

2. Check your invitation

  • Feedback is most effective when the recipient has asked for it.
  • This doesn’t mean just saying: ‘can I give you some feedback?’
  • So encourage him/her to ask for feedback.

3. Watch carefully

  • How is the recipient taking the feedback?
  • Watch for changes of expression and position.
  • Are there any changes in eye contact and sideways glances?
  • Avoid making judgements – so never say: ‘You should...’ or ‘You ought to...’

4. Small doses

  • Small doses are best – soon after the event.
  • Give some positive feedback first to encourage him/her to change.
  • Try to limit negative feedback to two or three items.
  • This means that you have to decide priorities – which is most urgent?
  • End with something positive: it lifts self-esteem.

5. Be specific

  • Describe what you have observed, not why you think it happened.
  • Focus on behaviour not the personality.
  • Help him/her see what things could be like if he/she changes.

6. Improve your evidence

  • Remember your data reflects your prejudices and agendas.
  • Continually strive to build up a more complete picture of events.
  • Whenever possible get third-party evidence, especially customers’.
  • If he/she rejects your feedback, it is just possible that he/she may be right.
  • Do not become defensive: go and collect more information.

7. Offer support

  • Offer your support in any changes you have discussed.
  • Focus on his/her strengths.
  • Leave the other person feeling he/she can rely upon you.

Ceridian offers a Performance Management module to help managers develop, motivate and retain their employees. To find out more speak directly to a Ceridian expert on 0800 0482 737.

  • 1st July 2009
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