by Matt Alderton | April 01, 2019
A business is a symphony: In order to play beautiful music, its leaders must constantly tune and retune their instruments in pursuit of the best possible pitch. Arguably, the most important instruments in the symphony are employees, whose pitch -- or performance -- depends on constructive feedback from managers, author Glenn Pasch indicates in a recent article for SmartBrief.

"Over the years, I have been on both ends of various approaches for delivering feedback from managers or leaders of teams," Pasch says. "One of the most common approaches these leaders employ is what I refer to as the 'psychic' approach to improving performance. This method starts with the manager looking at certain results, and without any other information, they presume to understand what happened, can seemingly predict the future and rush in shouting orders on how to fix the problem."

There's a better way. In order to get the best performance from employees, Pasch says feedback should be specific and actionable.

This starts with establishing clear goals at the start. "In order to follow up properly, you need to have specific performance goals in mind that everyone understands," he says, offering a bad and good example of such goals. "Bad: I need you to increase sales this month. Good: I need you to increase sales by 10 units this month."

Next, you need to know what behaviors will lead to the desired results -- and focus your feedback around those behaviors. If employees achieved their goal, for instance, you should discuss what behaviors led to their success. And if they didn't, you should discuss what behaviors led to their failure.

"Take emotion out of the equation," Pasch says. "By drilling into behavior, you will find that one or two steps were missed or done improperly, and that affected results. It allows you to target your training to improve performance, clear up any issues and then make it easier to hold the team accountable."

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