Carlsbad, CA—Feedback is a key to intelligent management, and must be delivered consistently and candidly. It is not only for everyone's benefit at every level in an organization, but proper feedback will help increase your sales.
How? Because when employees are happy and energized by their work environment, it creates an atmosphere and a vibe in the store that customers can sense when they walk in—and that motivates them to shop. Here are some practical steps you can take to improve your ability to provide effective feedback:
1. Don't avoid It. It's not uncommon to be fearful of how someone will react to constructive feedback, but it is something you must do. Recognize how important it is and just do it.
2. Be kind, but be honest. There is a tendency to be ambiguous to avoid confrontation, but you must be clear and direct while still being nice about how you address areas of concern. Don't bury your key intentions.
3. Ask good questions. Questions create a two-way dialogue and make the recipient feel you are interested in their views, which reduces possible defensiveness. Ask how the person is doing, where he or she can use help, and how you can better support the individual.
4. Use facts, numbers, and specifics. Stay away from generalities and comments that can be misunderstood or interpreted as vague. Such comments only encourage debate and argument.
5. Stay in control. Don't let emotions get the best of you. Maintain control, speak in a normal voice, and remain calm even if the person you're talking to doesn't.
6. Meet regularly and maintain good communication. Don't wait for a formal review period to discuss issues of importance. Take opportunities to dialogue as issues or concerns emerge and make sure to communicate effectively.
7. Be creative. Don't address every person in the exact same way. Think about each person's personality and temperament and how each will best accept feedback and constructive help.
8. Solicit feedback for yourself. Ask how you might do things differently and be open to new ideas and alternative considerations.
9. Summarize next steps. End every conversation with a summary of what actions each of you will take. Confirm this in writing as a way to solidify the improvement process, clarify expectations, and eliminate ambiguity and possible misunderstandings.
Do these things well and you will find your feedback process much more effective.
Here are some more effective business (and life) tips:
10. Leaders are learners. They constantly improve and innovate as a result of being propelled by their own initiative.
11. In business, it's good to ask to what degree you are maintaining and improving what works, and purging or replacing what doesn't.
12. Success in a family business depends on the senior generation's willingness and confidence in letting go, and the junior generation's ability to take over.
13. Integrity means that you handle people and explain things in an even-handed way. You don't skew facts to favor yourself.
14. Lead with clear focus. Without it, confusion reins and there is no common purpose. Without that, you can't have effective execution.
15. When confronted with a big challenge, take the high road. This shows strength and self-assurance in the midst of difficulty.
Bill Boyajian of Bill Boyajian and Associates, Inc. is the author of Developing the Mind of A Leader, and consults for top firms in the gem and jewelry industry. Read his blog here or contact him at (310) 691-9562, email: email@example.com, or log onto www.mindofaleader.com.