Can you imagine what your life or workplace would be like without accountability?
Accountability is vital for the success of any organization, but people rarely receive training on how to deliver it effectively. Some people, leaders included, prefer to avoid it altogether.
Alarmingly, recent data suggests that 93% of employees don’t have an understanding of what their organization is trying to accomplish. Moreover, nearly 85% of leaders are not clearly defining their employees’ responsibilities.
However, if you have never taken a course in accountability, you’re in luck. By making simple changes to how you deliver feedback, you can begin holding your team members accountable in an effective and constructive way, whether you are the leader of your organization, a manager delivering feedback to a subordinate, or a colleague practicing peer accountability.
Studying effective ways to deliver feedback can drastically improve everyone’s performance in your organization.
7 Tips for Giving Feedback
- Be Conscious of Your Tone of Voice:
Sometimes, giving feedback can make people emotional. By staying calm and keeping a neutral tone of voice, you can ensure that your employee, subordinate, or peers clearly understand you.
Although everyone should be mindful of their tone of voice when giving feedback, leaders especially should be sure to give feedback in an emotionally intelligent manner. Though the feedback you’re giving may be based on objective results, phrasing it in a constructive way is more important than simply delivering the information.
While controlling your own emotions is the first front of emotionally intelligent feedback, picking up on other people’s emotional state is the next front. You have to understand how much information a person can handle in one meeting and how best to deliver feedback.
Your tone of voice should be a tool through which you deliver constructive feedback that ultimately helps someone improve their job performance.
- Give Feedback in Person:
It is always best to speak in person when giving someone feedback, as it’s not possible to read vocal cues, body language, or facial expressions over text or email. While you can hear an individual’s tone of voice over the phone, you still won’t be able to see their body language. Therefore, the importance of the message can be misunderstood.
There is plenty of evidence to support that between 70 and 93% of all communication is nonverbal. It’s estimated that about 38% of communication is vocal, and 55% is visual.
If you really can’t deliver feedback in person, opt to do it via Zoom or FaceTime. After in-person feedback, a video call is always the second-best option.
- Do it Promptly:
Address necessary feedback as soon as possible. If you’re addressing an aspect of a person’s performance that has a substantial impact on other elements of the company, don’t wait to deliver it. You could be risking more damage by waiting.
It’s important to limit the time between the occurrence of a situation that prompts feedback and the delivery of the feedback itself. For example, if you are a leader, don’t wait for the Annual Review. The sooner you bring up a conflict to an employee, the easier it will be for them to understand and potentially adjust their behavior.
- Focus on Work:
When delivering feedback to a team member, stay focused on their work and contextualize it in the impact of the habit, action, or situation.
The person receiving feedback should understand that their talent, skills, and effort make them valuable in their role. They don’t need a personal critique on how they could better themselves outside of their performance at work. Making them feel valued through feedback will likely result in a more effective performance.
- Keep a Singular Focus:
Give feedback on one thing at a time. You don’t want to dump a barrage of feedback on anybody, especially if it could be construed as negative.
Pick one issue at a time, and only bring up another if it’s interrelated or connected to the first one.
It’s also important that you show that you understand how the team member feels and their position. You can demonstrate that you understand their position by reiterating their responses in your own words and confirming that you understand them correctly.
Try to say something as simple as “So, what I’m hearing is…” before validating their feelings. This statement helps align the conversation with the feedback and cultivate mutual understanding.
- Be Solutions-Oriented:
Approach the conversation from a “helpful” mindset. After all, your intention should be to help your team member grow.
Feedback should be used like a scalpel to help employees make small, positive adjustments, rather than a sledgehammer that destroys their ego. Treat feedback as a series of adjustments your team member can make to make the whole machine run better by offering solutions. Always be optimistic.
- Don’t Forget the Positives:
As you provide constructive feedback, be sure to also address positive feedback on the things you appreciate about the team member’s performance, such as laying out clear expectations for a project or pushing back a deadline to give you more time, etc.
Sandwich negative feedback in between positive feedback. This shows your team member that you value their contribution overall, and you won’t bombard them with negatives.
Results of Accountability in the Workplace
This type of accountability in the workplace strengthens everyone’s performance and makes an organization run smoothly. No one wants to feel like an island operating independently, and feedback is a key way of combating that.
Feedback also results in more self-accountability. By demonstrating to someone that you value their performance, they discover that you trust them to make corrections on their own.
The Bottom Line
Studying effective ways to deliver feedback can drastically improve everyone’s performance in your organization. Learning how to give feedback properly is something everyone should learn. It can be uncomfortable when you’ve received no training in giving feedback, but it will become less uncomfortable with practice.
To continue to improve your and your team’s performance, download The 10 Step Arootah Success Formula here.
What’s your experience with giving feedback? Have you ever had a poor experience giving or receiving feedback at work? Let us know in the comments below!