As I am preparing to conduct a training for the United Nations I was reminded of a simple management tool that is very powerful. When used correctly it can improve communication, improve employee effectiveness and competence.  When not used correctly it can decrease communication, decrease morale, and drive resistance to the corporation and to the manager.

What is this tool? Giving Effective Feedback. The problem is many managers either dump and run or don’t think they have the time, or don’t know how to be effective.

Here are the 3 keys to effective feedback.

Key # 1 Timing: Feedback needs to be immediate- the same day is best. Frankly people forget and if a manager waits to give feedback the employee will forget what they needed to improve on.

Key # 2 Delivering feedback: We tend to think in specifics yet speak in generalizations. So when giving feedback be specific and descriptive. Along with that describe what the employee did, describe your feelings ( did it make you angry, concerned, etc) and the consequences of the employees actions on the organization, department, or working with others. It is very important to link an action (or inaction) with a result. Then brainstorm with the employee or make suggestions for a better choice of action or behavior.

Key # 3 Where: When corrective feedback is given to an employee it needs to be private- so others can’t hear your conversation. When giving positive feedback then it can be given in front of others. In fact many times, this is appreciated, and can boost morale.

One final note: When giving corrective feedback keep it positive. Encourage the employee-tell him/her you want them to be successful. At the end of the feedback conversation reassure the employee that he/she is a valuable member of your team.

Feedback is a mindset as well as a tool. When used effectively it can improve team success, individual commitment and employee competence.

For more detailed information on how to be more effective listen to the free podcast on the “Power Tool for Managers” at