It's very important for offices to have an active culture of giving and receiving feedback. Regular feedbacks are far more efficient than yearly performance appraisals. But very often, this feedback turns into vague replies, or harsh criticism. Here's the right way to do it.
1| Be very specific. Do not say something like “Hey, your report was pretty bad.” Figure out what the problem was, then say something like, “You should do more research on project forecasting and re-submit the report.”
2| Don't sit on it. If you are to give feedback, do it while there's still time. Wait too long, and your comments won't have any effect whatsoever.
3| Be helpful. You are not providing feedback to demean the other person. You are doing it so that they can be better at their work. No point in being vindictive about it.
4| Be constructive. Being outright rude is wrong, and so is being too polite. It's best to find a middle ground between the two in order to provide constructive criticism.
5| Make sure the other person understood you. After providing the feedback, you should ask if s/he has a clear idea of what exactly you said.
6| Be consistent. Do not discriminate among employees/peers. If any specific action gets a positive feedback once, it should get a positive feedback no matter who does it.
7| Don't just criticise, also praise. Very often, bosses remember to point out mistakes, but never remember to appreciate good work. Appreciation is just as necessary as criticism.
Writer is the sub-editor of Next Step.