Some people just want to be left alone to do their jobs. But studies show that the newest generation of workers, millennials, isn’t like that. They want their managers to be involved, and most important, to provide feedback. If you have a team of younger workers and you’ve been taking a hands-off management style, you aren’t managing them effectively. Take these steps to give them the feedback they crave and need to do their best work:
- Plan regular feedback sessions. Is the only time you give feedback a few hurried moments during an uncomfortable annual review? Because those meetings come only once a year and are often explicitly tied to salary increases, they’re awkward for everyone. Employees are more focused on putting their work in the best possible light to get the biggest possible raise rather than really listing to constructive criticism. Giving feedback only once at the end of the year also means criticism comes as a surprise to the employee and delays opportunities for improvement. To avoid this, schedule periodic meetings with each member of your team.
- Treat feedback sessions as if they’re important, because they are. You’d know what you intended to say if you have a meeting scheduled with your company’s CEO, right? You should treat the feedback meetings with your team members as if they’re as important as that meeting with the CEO. Know what comments you intend to give, and be prepared to give specific examples. Also be prepared to give specific advice for improvement and to have a plan to work with your employees to help them do better work. And make sure your employees know that these meetings are about performance; you don’t want them to be surprised and become defensive. If you are both prepared in advance, you can have meaningful discussions that benefit their development.
- Don’t focus solely on the positive or solely on the negative. No one does everything right at work, and no one does everything wrong at work, either. Be sure the feedback you give includes both perspectives. Having their positive contributions acknowledged encourages employees to improve performance in the areas where they aren’t being effective.
Lastly, although scheduled meetings are important, don’t hold back on praise. When someone does good work, praise it immediately, and publicly if possible. It can boost the entire team’s morale to know that good work is recognized.
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