'As seen on TV' doesn't cut it for employee feedback

Dive Brief:

  • Leaders should not model their behaviors after 'The Office' television manager Michael Scott (played by actor Steve Carell), writes Khatera Sahibzada for Salon. She shares the challenges that leaders often have with providing feedback to employees.
  • Zenger/Folkman, a leadership development consultancy firm, conducted a study of 899 individuals, half from the US and half from other nations. Their results indicate that no one likes giving negative feedback, but that employees prefer to hear negative feedback twice as often as positive feedback directly from a manager. 92% of the respondents said that they found negative feedback "effective at improving performance when delivered appropriately."
  • Sahibzada advises using "three gates" to determine if it's a good time to deliver feedback to subordinates. Her advice to managers is to ask themselves a series of questions: "Is it true? Is it necessary? Is it kind?." Sahibzada reminds readers to be mindful of delivering feedback in an unbiased way.

Dive Insight:

We've all viewed the popular comedy show "The Office" and laughed at the wildly inappropriate, yet hilarious ways that Michael Scott delivers feedback to his employees. All of this is done with the intention of being entertaining, but in the real world, feedback must be taken seriously as it correlates with employee learning and performance.

HR leaders are often tasked with coaching managers to communicate effectively with employees so that every negative situation can become a learning opportunity. This is the stance that all leaders should take: To carefully provide feedback, whether negative or positive, so that employees can use this as a chance to learn and grow. 

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Filed Under: Learning