Timing is everything when giving constructive feedback, you don’t want to rush it because it might affect morale, neither do you want to delay it too long since it would affect effectiveness.
Generally feedback is most effective when you provide it in the following circumstances –
- In person (either by face-to-face or through phone)
- Within 24 hours of the event or behavior you want to discuss
- With the person’s permission. Ask, “I’d like to discuss yesterday’s budget meeting. Is now an okay time to talk?”
When you use these guidelines, the incident is fresh in everyone’s minds and the employee is receptive or at least won’t be taken completely off guard.
Timely positive feedback demonstrates genuine commitment to the employee’s success.
You may be tempted to “let it go for now,” but studies show employees handle constructive feedback better in small doses. In addition, if you let a problem fester, it may damage team morale.
However, there are occasions when it’s wise to delay feedback. You may want to wait when –
- Strong emotions are involved. If the behavior you observed or heard about was particularly upsetting to the people involved, you may need to give everyone (including yourself) time to calm down.
- You are uncertain of the facts. In this case, it’s more productive to research the issue before speaking to the employee.