If you prefer texting to making a phone call, then you’ve probably been in a situation where your message was misinterpreted. Miscommunication is quite common when it comes to written communication. Texting, in particular, doesn’t allow to accurately convey emotions, tone and other non-verbal cues.
Written communication is tricky and it has its own set of challenges in the workplace. Writing feedback is especially difficult because you need to be mindful of the tone, language and delivery. Want to learn how to provide constructive written feedback? Read on!
Writing Feedback Is Tricky
In the workplace, feedback is instrumental in driving change. The two-way communication process helps individuals gain better insights into their performance and identify areas of self-improvement. However, written feedback is a different ball game altogether. It’s hard to determine the tone as you lack the benefit of social cues. In other words, it appears harsher in writing and you need to be extra mindful about the way you convey your message.
It’s important to differentiate between constructive and destructive feedback.
Here are several advantages of writing feedback in a positive and mindful manner:
Provides a new perspective and gives valuable insights
Improves morale and boosts motivation
Provides clarity regarding current performance and expectations
Positively impacts someone’s behavior
How To Write Feedback
One of the greatest challenges that people face while writing feedback is maintaining a balance between honesty and kindness. If you want to provide feedback in an objective way, here are several helpful tips you should consider.
Stick To The Facts
Never criticize an individual’s attitude. Instead, pay attention to specific and observable behaviors. For example, instead of saying ‘you lack punctuality’, try writing, ‘you missed your project deadlines multiple times.
Come To The Point
Try to be as specific as possible. Point out the exact areas of improvement and pinpoint the actions you’d like the individual to take. When writing your feedback, let your first paragraph reflect the main point.
Praise Them Eventually
Before you conclude your feedback letter, make sure that you’ve highlighted the positive contribution from your employee. When they see that their work is making a difference, they’ll likely be motivated and work harder.
Balance Strengths & Criticisms
A constructive feedback letter shouldn’t be too hard or too kind; it should be a balance between the two. A good approach is to highlight both strengths and weaknesses in an objective manner. This way, you’re able to provide concrete suggestions for each criticism, without offending the reader.
No feedback letter is complete without preliminary recommendations and suggestions. In addition to analyzing someone’s performance, you should discuss their competencies and behaviors. If you want someone to take action and work towards improvement, recommend training and development solutions (e.g., upskilling or reskilling programs).
Examples Of How To Write Feedback
Here are several examples that’ll teach you how to write a feedback letter in a productive and encouraging manner.
Rajesh has been working for eleven months in your team but he’s acting disengaged and uninterested of late. You can encourage Rajesh by writing “Hi Rajesh, I’ve noticed that you don’t seem as motivated as you usually are. If there is something that’s making you feel this way, I’d be happy to meet and discuss it with you. Don’t hesitate to reach out!”
Jaya has been coming late to work quite often. A delicate way of writing your feedback response would be “Hello Jaya, I’ve noticed that you’ve been coming late to work quite frequently. I feel that it’s negatively impacting the team. If you’re facing any personal roadblocks, I’d be happy to have a chat. Otherwise, I really need you to arrive at work on time.”
Tariq has taken a more backseat role recently. A constructive way of conveying this information is by saying, “Hi Tariq, I’ve noticed you’re not taking as much initiative and responsibility as before. Is there something for this sudden change in your behavior? I’d love to address any problems or concerns you may have.”
Feedback is one of the most efficient methods of problem-solving in the workplace. It allows both the author and reader to freely express their opinions. It helps you pursue your goals with greater rigor and makes you a better leader who guides their teams and pushes everyone to perform better.
If you want to provide positive feedback and help your team feel motivated and engaged, you need to find the right way of presenting the information. Harappa Education’s Writing Proficiently course will teach you how to structure your thoughts and use appropriate formats for written communication. The Pyramid Principle will help you present key points while the PREP Model will help you present summarized versions clearly. Communicate, evaluate and grow with your team!
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