It could be with a question, if you’re looking to understand more about your employee’s point of view. It could be with a solution, if you’re looking to simply solve a problem. Or it could be with a heartfelt thanks for positive behavior. The most important thing here is to connect this current conversation with the future. What has happened is in the past–how would you like the employee to take this into the future?
Wrapping it up
The final part of a feedback discussion? It’s not talking—it’s active listening. Feedback conversations go better for both sides when everyone feels heard.
Asking questions is a good way to ensure the employee has an opportunity to address any of their concerns. Perhaps they didn’t understand a part of your feedback, or they may have a different solution in mind.
- What are your key takeaways from this conversation?
- Does this feedback align with your goals?
- What can I do to support you with this?
- Is there another way we can make this work?
It’s important to end the conversation with empathy. Make sure the person you’re giving feedback to feels heard and understood. This can mean acknowledging that the conversation was difficult and you appreciate their openness to discussing a tough issue. Ending a conversation on a high note—or at least, on a “let’s sit with this and circle back after we’ve had time to process,” note—makes giving feedback feel more productive and encouraging.
- Thank you for taking this seriously. I know these kinds of conversations are difficult.
- We’ll work together on finding a solution—this is a problem I’ve had in the past, too.
- Your contributions are appreciated by the whole team.
The purpose of these feedback conversations isn’t just to correct a problem—it’s to inspire employees to do their best every day, and give them the tools to do it.
Adjust and evolve
Giving employees honest and actionable feedback isn’t easy. But it does get a little easier with practice.
You shouldn’t just wait for something wrong to pop up to use this framework, either! It’s important to give this kind of detailed, thoughtful recognition when they do something right as well. That encourages these behaviors in the future and makes people feel seen, valued, and appreciated. Consider baking time for recognition into your one-on-ones!
And if things don’t go quite as planned in your first feedback conversation? That doesn’t mean you failed. It’s just another opportunity to try a different approach. You won’t be able to use the same script for different employees, because everyone responds differently to feedback. This is another part of the Radical Candor framework we like—the ability to Care Personally, meaning that you understand your employees’ communication styles and languages of appreciation.
Adjust your conversations as you get more experienced and comfortable giving feedback. You’ll learn what works well for you, for your team, and your colleagues. Your whole organization will benefit from your commitment to feedback , and you’ll find yourself a better communicator and leader for it.