I love getting performance reviews. Whether I am getting a stellar or mediocre review, I want to know how I am doing. What am I doing well? What can be developed? What are some next steps?

Everyone deserves the dignity of feedback. You are not doing anyone a favor by saying nothing. Instead you are slowly dismantling the potential of people around you by remaining silent.

One honest review is better than a thousand false, shallow accolades.

Original Photo by SlipStreamJC

Original Photo by SlipStreamJC

Would you like to work for a leader that kept you mediocre? No way! You and your team thrive when there is open, honest feedback. I love developing my team of world changers — feedback is vital for that ongoing development to happen.

Here are a few tips on how to provide great feedback:

#1 Conduct an Annual Review Consistently

Annual reviews are a great place to reflect, affirm, and challenge people on your team. Look back on how people have grown and celebrate it. I find it helpful to gain a 360 degree view of a person by asking peers, subordinates, and others for feedback. This helps round out the picture of the team member.

Make sure to write out the annual review and conduct it in person. This brings a professional and personal touch to your discussion. Never bring up something for the first time during a review. Nothing should be a big surprise during an annual review. Your tone should be cordial and urgent. Utilize this annual opportunity to develop your team.

#2 Provide Instant Specific Feedback

Instant feedback is a great way to develop your team. For example, I remember being on campus while one of my team members was training students in discipleship. I was able to provide instant feedback after the training — I commented on content, presentation, clarity, call-to-action, etc. This kind of feedback is fresh, real-time, and developmental.

When I give this instant feedback, I focus on reality, not my perception. I state what was actually done. I make a clear affirming statement on their performance. I invite the team member into the feedback by gaining their thoughts. During the dialogue, I will make a few suggestions for development. Then I restate a clear statement on their performance. Seize every moment to develop your team.

#3 Balance Your Feedback 

It is vital that you walk the fine line between affirmation and development. If you are constantly affirming, then you miss an opportunity for development. If you are constantly pointing out development, then you are creating a negative atmosphere.

You must strike a balance between both. I’ve noticed that this balance is NOT 50/50. In fact, 50/50 still feels negative. I have experienced that the ratio should be closer to 3 to 1. Speak three affirmations for every one development opportunity.

If you have nothing positive to say, then you need to check your motives. You are doing something wrong as a leader. People are not means to an end. Consider everything that people are doing well before you start pointing out weaknesses. Develop a positive culture around development.

#4 Create Realistic Next Steps

You should always have a development track for your team members. I have an Evernote document that lists each of my team members and how I hope to develop each person over the next year. Your team members need to feel forward progress in their career or they will lose interest in you and your mission. Create next steps that are stretching.

Consider stage of life and personality while creating next steps. Consider creating continuity by reviewing last year’s performance review. Keep momentum around certain competencies — this creates excitement. I like to focus on strengths and create new opportunities for those strengths to shine. I don’t mind taking a risk on people and providing new platforms. Develop your team by stretching them with next steps.

Everyone deserves the dignity of feedback!

Feedback is important. Everyone should know how they are doing. It is crucial to tell it straight to your team members — not to others. If there is a problem, tackle it. If someone deserves a compliment, speak it. This is the dignity of feedback!

  • By conducting an annual review, you set a culture of feedback.

  • By providing instant feedback, you are helping your team maximize current opportunities. 

  • By balancing your statements, you create a positive, constructive atmosphere.

  • By creating next steps, you set trajectory and expectation for continued growth.

The combination of all of these tips make for a great experience.

Let us become the kind of people that develop people around us. By doing so, we invest in the future. You are an Everyday World Changer. Start today!

Do you have any other suggestions for developing your team? Please comment below or send me an email!