Manager/Supervisor Tips: Improving Relationships through Corrective Feedback

For most supervisors/managers, providing corrective feedback is not the most pleasurable task of their jobs.  Chances are you might be upset or frustrated with the troubled employee.  Maybe you don't want to say the wrong thing because they may file a grievance, or you are afraid of hurting the other person's feelings and, as a result, your relationship with them.

What if you could provide corrective feedback and improve your relationship with the receiving employee?  Besides taking OHRD classes and learning the Development Dialogue Meeting Model, you may want to read this month's tips.​

  1. 1. Mind the Setting: Always provide corrective feedback in a private setting.  Nobody wants to be humiliated publicly, and everybody wants to be treated with respect.  Taking the time to secure a private setting is the first step toward showing respect and giving the employee the chance to focus on the issues rather than on saving face in front of their colleagues and customers.

  1. 2. Be a Coach: Your role is to help the employee to become better at their job.  This includes tangible items such as writing error-free reports or completing a side audit according to standards, but also how they interact with the people around them.  It is then up to the employee to accept your help and advice to improve.

  1. 3. Don’t Presume: When a performance issue is occurring, we have a tendency to presume we know the cause.  Usually, our presumptions cast the employee as the villain or with some personality or ethical defect.  This, in turn, can negatively affect how you approach the employee.  Instead, identify the behavior you’re seeing and ask why it is happening.  Often, you’ll be surprised and your employee will feel heard.

  1. 4. ​Search for Solutions: Whenever possible, let the employee create solutions.  This increases their buy-in because they are the owner of the solution. If this is not possible, try to create action plans together.  You want to make this a collaborative process.

  2. 5. Be Open to Feedback: When you have delivered the corrective feedback and determined the plan forward, consider asking your employee how you did delivering said feedback. Depending on the situation, you may want to let them compose themselves and think about it.  Maybe you want to add some questions to guide the process. Asking for feedback on this aspect of your performance could be a game changer in your relationship.  It takes trust to be open and honest to a superior and for the supervisor/manager to have the humility to accept it.

Of course, there is more than we covered here.  We encourage you to check out the articles below and sign up for our classes.

Leading with Trust

31 Tips on How to Give and Receive Feedback at Work

How to Tap into the Power of Corrective Feedback 

Use Coaching to Improve Employee Performance