Building relationships and gaining the trust of team members require you to be patient, open, and trustworthy – and to set sufficient time aside for impromptu conversations and regular one-on-one sessions. These conversations and sessions are opportunities for you to coach and support the team member and to provide and receive feedback.
If people are to do their best, they need to know what they are doing well and what they could do better. Everyone needs feedback – especially
team members who are relatively inexperienced or new to the project or
organization. But also team members who are experienced and doing well need to know that their contributions are being appreciated.
As the project manager, it is your job is to provide feedback.
If feedback is to be effective, it must be given in an objective and constructive way; otherwise, it may be ignored or misinterpreted. Take the emotion out and keep it as factual and objective as possible. This is especially important when delivering so-called negative feedback.
Do not focus on failures and mistakes. Always assume that people
mean well and that they are doing the very best with what they have. Focus on the way forward and encourage people to take steps in that direction.
Think carefully about how you communicate your message, as everyone reacts differently. If you want the person to have positive feelings about making a change, make sure that your message has that effect. Be mindful of your body language, tone of voice, and facial expressions. First think about what you want to communicate and which effect you want to have on the team member – then make sure your body language supports that message.
Remember that providing feedback is a two-way process. Who is to say that the team member you are talking to actually did a bad job? Could it be that your instructions and support were lacking? Keep an open mind and allow for the possibility that you could be wrong. Listen carefully to the team member’s comments and views without interrupting.
If a team member has made a genuine mistake or truly needs to improve in some way, be as specific about the situation as you can and give concrete examples of the behaviors that concern you. The more specific you are the more accurate and helpful your feedback may be.
-> Make your feedback factual and constructive
-> Be as specific as you can, and give examples
-> Do not criticize; focus on the way forward
-> Encourage an open dialogue by asking for comments
-> Listen without interrupting
-> Allow for the possibility that you could be wrong
-> Be honest
-> Let people know when they have done a good job
-> Be mindful of your body language; it must support your message
-> Know which emotional state you want your team member to end up with
It is important to give feedback when a team member does something good, too. After all, everyone likes to feel important, valued, and appreciated. Often projects get so busy that you may forget about the little things that can make a big difference and boost morale.
Make it a habit to give sincere praise on a regular basis. Let your team members know when they have done a good job. If you do not tell them that they are doing well, they may never know that you have noticed and appreciate their performance. They may eventually start doubting themselves. People love the feelings of success, contribution, and knowing that they make a difference.
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