It’s time for year-end reviews and annual one-on-one discussions. In consultations, I often hear that giving feedback is challenging, especially when things haven’t gone smoothly. That’s why many managers avoid such conversations, even though this process is an integral part of team development and individual professional growth.

Let’s talk about how to make this conversation easier for both the manager and the subordinate.

Prepare in Advance

Before starting the conversation, prepare thoroughly. Familiarize yourself with the achievements of your subordinates, as well as areas where there is potential for improvement. This will allow you to be well-informed and make well-founded comments.

Choose the Right Moment and Place

Pay attention to the surroundings. Choose a quiet place and time to avoid possible distractions and create a trusting atmosphere.

Create a Friendly Atmosphere

Start the conversation on a positive note. Express gratitude for efforts and achievements, emphasizing the importance of each team member. This will help create a friendly atmosphere in which feedback is perceived as constructive rather than critical.

Phrase Positively

Begin with positive aspects. Highlight achievements and strengths before addressing areas that need improvement. This will help create a balance and underscore your support.

Be Specific and Objective

Use specific examples to illustrate your comments. Objectivity is crucial – avoid generalized statements and emotional coloring.

Use “I” Statements

Phrase feedback using “I” statements, expressing your feelings and opinions. For example, instead of saying, “You always forget deadlines,” say, “I’ve noticed that there have been instances recently where deadlines were not met.”

Focus on Actions, Not Personality

Emphasize that your feedback pertains to specific actions or work results, not the person. This will help avoid a sense of personal criticism.

Ask Instead of Assert, Listen Carefully Strive to make the conversation interactive.

Strive to make the conversation interactive. Ask questions and clarify the subordinate’s point of view. This will create a shared context and help better understand each other. Feedback is not just an opportunity to express your opinion but also a chance to listen to the perspectives of subordinates. Ask questions to understand their position and expectations.

Offer Constructive Solutions

Instead of just pointing out problems, propose an action plan that will help the subordinate develop and grow professionally. After expressing what can be improved, suggest specific solutions. This could include training opportunities, mentorship, or other resources to support improvement.

Support and Encourage

Conclude the feedback by emphasizing your belief in the subordinate’s potential and offering support in their development. Highlight that your goal is not only the efficient completion of current duties but also the personal and professional growth of each team member. Support their commitment to self-improvement and learning.

The main thing for a manager to remember is that attentiveness, empathy, and a strategic approach are needed. Successful feedback is built on mutual trust and respect. Strive to make your feedback a tool for development rather than a cause for offense.