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Feedback as a Tool

Many supervisors and managers save feedback for performance reviews, then treat feedback as a tool to tear employees down instead of build them up. This is a mistake. By providing feedback and support, you can help people improve. As team members develop, their emotional intelligence will increase.

How to build self-confidence through feedback

Empathy is an important skill to use during almost every workplace interaction. It’s especially important in feedback situations, in which the provider and the receiver may be tense.

To develop your team’s emotional intelligence, you have to give input into performance on a regular basis. When doing this, you should consider the following points:

A building tool – Use feedback to “build” employees. You want them to have the careers they want, and feedback is a tool to get them there. You don’t want to constantly criticize or tear them down. You want them to know what they are doing well.

Frequency – You don’t just give feedback during a review – it’s an everyday process. Everyone should give feedback to each other – be open to hearing information about yourself. After all, you can’t grow as a manager unless you know what works and what doesn’t.

Focus on positives – Feedback is not the same as criticism. People need to know what they’re good at and they need to hear it often. Everyone takes pride in their skills and you should try to reinforce this pride for your employees, rather than tear them down.

Delicacy – Employees don’t have weaknesses; they have opportunities for improvement. It’s important to give this information delicately. You don’t want to destroy self-confidence by pointing out behavior that needs to change. Support is an important partner to feedback.

People need support when they are trying to grow or change direction in a job. Support can range from providing more positive feedback to referrals to employee assistance programs.

Extra support is often required during certain career milestones. Support needs may include:

Additional responsibility – People often need support when they are promoted or take on new tasks. This is a growth period for employees – they need to acquire new skills and behaviors. Mentoring and training can often provide the support necessary for this transition.

Personal problems – Many people go through difficult times in their personal lives that affect their work. These can include divorce, illness, and financial problems. During these times, an employee assistance program or an outside counselor may provide the necessary support.

Interpersonal problems – Sometimes, personal difficulties spring up. People may not work well together or they may have personal issues that cloud solve the tasks. During these times, coaching and feedback can help change behaviors that lead to conflict situations.

Concern about career direction – People often have concerns about their jobs, such as, “Do I like this type of work?” or, “Do I want to be in this position?” In this case, they may need to discuss career goals and opportunities that could enrich their careers. They might want to learn new skills or try new tasks.

Remember, feedback and support help people improve. As team members develop, their emotional intelligence will increase.