Blog Post 12-7-11

Importance of Feedback in Performance Management

When Louise Heath Leber was chosen Mother of the Year in May 1961, the New York Post reported her response, “There’s always room for improvement you know – it’s the biggest room in the house.” Well, 50 years later and room for improvement is still the biggest room in most companies.

It’s just that, when it comes to performance management, so many bosses are so bad at providing feedback. Usually that’s because “they’re trying to figure out how to spin it, sugarcoat it, or bury it,” or so says Mark Murphy, CEO of Leadership IQ. Their 2009 study found that employees are desperate for any kind of interaction with their boss. Specifically, 67% of employees said they received insufficient positive feedback, while 51% said they received too little constructive criticism.

A Feedback Tool

While there are a variety of methods for providing performance feedback, this simple, DESC approach can be an especially effective and useful for direct and immediate feedback -- something you'll want to be providing to your employees

Describe the situation or behavior that you observed - including any relevant body language or words you heard.
Explain the impact on you, the recipient and the work environment.
Specify the change that needs to take place.
Clarify the consequences of making or failing to make the requested change.

While utilizing the DESC method is straightforward, it does take practice. Moreover, it’s beneficial to use it as one part of a broader performance management program.

Encouraging Feedback

Whether you manage others or not, receiving and/or providing feedback is a vital part of developing yourself and others. To get a head start on your own performance management, here are four ideas on how to improve individual performance by seeking and giving performance feedback:

Seek recommendations. Actively seek suggestions regarding your specific duties and projects in order to improve the final product or outcome.
Ask for feedback. Ask those within your sphere of influence for frequent feedback beyond a mere critique of the quality and quantity of your work.
Take steps to improve. Track the feedback you receive and create an action plan on the changes needed.
Reciprocate. Assist others by providing feedback to them.

While many people find it difficult to give as well as receive feedback about their performance, it is an important coaching tool. That’s where CI International can help you “achieve better performance from the inside out.”