Criticism is rarely easy for anyone to hear, but the critical aspect of giving feedback is the manner in which it is provided, as this can make an enormous difference in how the information is received and how useful it can actually be in helping the person on the receiving end.
Feedback becomes powerful when it is offered in the right way, with the right intentions. Knowing how and when to give constructive feedback is an invaluable salon management skill, and like every other skill, it needs to be learnt and practised.
For feedback to be effective, it must have a purpose and a reason. For example, you may be analysing a recent problem to prevent it from recurring, or you may have received a genuine complaint from a dissatisfied client and you cannot solve the issue without giving feedback to the person/people involved.
Next, the feedback has to be given at the right time and for the right duration. Appropriate timing is essential. When an event triggers a need for feedback, provide it as quickly as possible (but not in the heat of the moment, take time to process first). Timely feedback works because it creates a sense of urgency and importance.
Constructive feedback has to be done routinely and regularly. As the salon manager and team leader, examining events and looking for areas where change is beneficial should be a regular part of your leadership role, whether it is daily, weekly or monthly. As giving feedback is then seen as part of your job, it doesn’t make recipients feel singled out.
Keep it simple and specific. To be effective, feedback must be clear. Stay on track and keep to the issue at hand. Mind your language: avoid phrases like ‘you never’ or ‘you always’. Instead give the feedback on the behaviour, without blame or personal criticism.
Make it interactive: feedback works best when it is treated as an interactive conversation for problem solving. Ask for input and ideas to help clarify, as it is all about making progress. If possible, start and end the conversation with a positive.
Give recognition in public and criticism in private! Create a safe environment, where you won’t be overheard or interrupted. Privacy is important.
Follow up, as the purpose of feedback is for improvement. As your salon team work to grow and develop, everyone needs to think about what they’ve done and what they can do better on an on-going basis.
When giving Feedback, Be:
- Focused on Behavior
When receiving Feedback, Be:
- Calm, just listen
- Receptive, tune in to the truth. What can you gain and what can you learn?
- Curious, ask questions about what you can do differently moving forward.
- Grateful, even if it is uncomfortable, say thank you. This demonstrates your maturity and professionalism, as a manager.
The ability to give and receive constructive feedback is very powerful as it is a vital way to mentor your team members, keeping both morale and productivity high. It is a valuable communication skill that will propel your business forward.