There have been mountains of books written on how to manage effectively, ranging from how to fire employees all the way to how to praise them. Many great topics in that spectrum require extensive reading to understand, but there are others that do not. One of them is how you deliver feedback. Are you engaging your employees or embarrassing them? Taking the time to engage employees while delivering feedback will affect your team’s employee engagement levels.
Embarrassing: Nobody needs to write a book to explain that no one likes to be embarrassed. And, different people can be embarrassed in different ways. As a leader, it’s your job to learn about your employees and discover what motivates them, and conversely, what makes them hide in their shell. No two people are alike. What may be embarrassing to one employee could motivate another.
For example, one of your employees presents to you a comprehensive sales report. Upon presentation, it becomes apparent that the numbers are incorrect. Anybody with basic interpersonal skills knows that tearing the report apart is counter-productive. Yet, telling the employee that the report is wrong and needs to be redone – in front of their peers – has the same effect. No one wants to be told, and to have others know, that their work is unacceptable. The employee may feel that all of their work has been wasted and that they have let you down. This will affect their engagement level, as well as their personal opinion of their self.
Engaging: When delivering feedback, it should be engaging and two-way. When you don’t allow the other person to present their thoughts, it turns into a lecture, which isn’t productive. If you are unhappy with an employee, allow them to present their thought process. As a manager, you can then find the inefficiencies and errors and correct them. Forcing an employee to redo the task without direction will not fix the problem, because the employee obviously didn’t know where the error was. You’re not just a manager, but also a teacher.
To continue our example of the incorrect sales numbers, an engaging manager would ask the employee to walk them through how the final numbers were collected. As a manager, you’re able to see that the figures were simply pulled from the wrong spreadsheet. What could have been a complete disaster is now a simple fix because you engaged with the employee.
One common complaint from employees is that their bosses aren’t aware of their own management style faults. However, most employees aren’t comfortable with sharing these feelings with their managers for fear of backlash. As a leader, make it a priority to learn how you manage. Use employee surveys to obtain the type of candid feedback that will help you become a better leader.
Employee engagement plays a pivotal role in ensuring your business stays in the black. Happy employees create happy customers. NBRI helps businesses just like yours become productive, profitable, great places to work. Contact us today to get started.