Five Constructive Ways To Give Feedback To Your Organization’s Key Leaders

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By: Forbes Human Resources Council

Whether you’re conducting an annual performance review or sitting down with an employee per their manager’s request, being able to give clear, constructive feedback is crucial to the development of both the employee and the company. But what if you’re meeting with a key leader in your organization? How can you be sure your feedback won’t offend or upset them? Well, it all comes down to your delivery.

Below, five successful human resources executives from Forbes Human Resources Council discuss the best ways to deliver feedback in a constructive manner when speaking with key leaders in your organization.

1. Base Your Feedback On Data

Before providing feedback to a key leader, try to understand their language. What speaks to them? What motivates them to drive change? More often than not, key leaders want to see the data behind the feedback. Impulsive, thoughtless feedback based on your own feelings is ineffective. Base feedback on facts, numbers and data to effectively open a constructive conversation. – Kelsey MartinBristlecone Holdings

2. Form A Relationship Early On

It all comes down to your relationship. The ability to provide feedback in a non-threatening way should be set up well before this conversation. Through your actions, sincerity and authenticity, a degree of trust should be built with this department head. This way, the leader can be comfortable and confident that your feedback is strictly constructive. – Ryan HarrisPetplan

3. Promote Accountability And Transparency

A company can only improve if its leaders hold themselves accountable for its performance. If constructive feedback needs to be given to key leaders, it must be done in a safe but objective setting where leaders can communicate openly with each other, provide support and advice, hold each other accountable, and move swiftly as one in the direction of progress. – Angela NguyenAd Exchange Group

4. Use The ‘I Like, I Wish, I Wonder’ Approach

Balance your feedback by including what is going well and what is not going well. I suggest using an approach called “I like, I wish, I wonder.” Let someone know what you “like” about their work, what you “wish” would happen to make it better, then offer a suggestion and encourage them to “wonder” what their work would be like if they take your feedback into practice. For example, “I like your assertiveness with the way you recruit top talent. I wish you would collaborate more with other hiring managers and share the top talent you find with them. I wonder what would happen if other hiring managers were aware of the talent you find for the company. Imagine the type of people we could hire.” – Ben MartinezHireVue

5. Meet With Them In Person

Meet with this key leader face-to-face and explain not only the facts, but the solutions in which they can use the information in a constructive way. Another best practice is to ask for their perspective and spend a lot of time listening. Sometimes, I only have part of the story, and it’s good to hear everything before making a decision or judging. – Heather NeisenTechnologyAdvice