Veteran Hires Excel at Giving Feedback

Feedback is a useful tool in the workplace. It is how we learn whether our job performance or office behaviors are helping or hindering the organization from meeting its goals. However, managers are often reluctant to give or receive feedback because it’s too often associated with criticism.

But it doesn’t have to be. With the right preparation and appropriate delivery, feedback provides the critical intel we need to do our jobs better. The best type of feedback:

##**Is Ongoing**##

Ideally, feedback is provided continuously, not just reserved for an annual review. Constant information about our performance assures that small mistakes don’t turn into larger and more costly ones.

##**Is Supportive**##

Delivering feedback should never be a license to belittle the recipient. The goal is improvement, and an underlying sense of helpfulness should drive the process. Really listen to the responses of those receiving the feedback. Thank and encourage the receiver and offer input as needed to develop an action plan.

##**Is Specific**##

Explain the impact the issue or the employee’s actions are having on the team, organization, or project. Specific, detailed information about the employee’s behavior or performance is key. Discuss the issue at hand. This is not the time for an open-ended discussion.

##**Points Forward**##

Yes, although feedback is based on what may have occurred previously, constructive feedback doesn’t live in the past. The point is to propel the lessons learned into a plan for the future.

##**Goes Both Ways**##

The best kind of feedback is not handed down like the Ten Commandments. Superiors and subordinates alike can glean valuable insights from employees sitting at all vantage points. The sharing of information from many perspectives helps uncover issues that might not have been noticed otherwise.

##**Why Hire Veterans?**##

Veterans are accustomed to providing feedback in a structured environment. At the very earliest levels of small unit leadership, veterans are tasked with the professional development of the soldiers, sailors, and airmen beneath them, and advancing them through the ranks. They are deeply invested in the success of the personnel who report to them. Ongoing evaluations are part of a veteran’s daily, weekly, and monthly routine. And because veterans are accustomed to working with diverse groups, they are used to keeping the dialogue on track in a tactful, respectful manner.

When focused and structured, feedback sessions can become springboards that foster creativity and new ideas, rather than awkward and dreaded conversations by appointment. So the next time you’re getting ready to provide feedback, think carefully and develop a plan of action to stay on track. Better yet, hire vets – it’s one of the many intangible skills they offer.