Even though communication specialists are often in an excellent position to provide instruction in leadership, some may need drawing out.
Providing critical, constructive communication to workers to foster development and retention is one of the most challenging issues that a new leader will encounter when taking on a leadership position for the first time.
New leaders are often required to possess this ability and the ability to navigate the many personalities within a team and how those personalities respond to input.
Because offering formative feedback might be difficult for some leaders, they prefer to avoid it. Many others learn how to provide feedback by trial and error. They have times when they think, “Hey, that went very well,” and others when they think, “Yikes, I could have said that better.”
Who provides support to leaders who struggle to deliver motivating and constructive feedback?
Human resource departments seldom seek help from the company’s marketing and communication departments. Even though communication specialists are typically in an excellent position to provide valuable methods and instruction in this area. Therefore, never underestimate the importance of team engagement.
Here are three valuable tactics that marketing and communications professionals employ daily in their business. You can also use them to offer excellent feedback to a group of people.
1. Timing with communication is everything.
When marketing and communication teams develop content for a consumer audience, they are well aware that it is critical to reach the audience where they are in their journey.
For example, suppose a specific trend surfaces on TikTok and a business wants to capitalize on that trend to promote its content. In that case, the marketing and communication teams must act rapidly to start the campaign before the movement becomes obsolete.
It is possible that the consumer audience will not pay attention or will not notice the information if they wait too long since something else is now trending.
Similarly, suppose a leader gets feedback on an employee or is involved in a crisis affecting the employee. In that case, it is critical to talk with the individual as soon as possible, regardless of whether the input is favorable or harmful.
Employees may benefit from this because it gives them quick feedback that they can use to change a specific behavior in similar circumstances. Likewise, it prevents them from being ambushed with input that is no longer relevant on a performance assessment months later.
2. Understanding your target audience is key.
Marketing and communication teams devote a significant amount of time to research to understand the population they are attempting to reach fully.
It should be no surprise that a message that does not connect with the audience’s urgent needs is something they cannot hear. As a result, before offering unpleasant criticism, leaders should make every effort to comprehend their audience’s perspective.
A leader who has to deliver feedback to an employee who works remotely and picks his children up from school each day at 3:00 p.m. should avoid doing so just before 3:00, even if you plan the time for their one-on-one meeting.
Remember to consider when the employee will be most open to the feedback. Think whether or not the employee will have time to digest the input afterward if it is incredibly challenging.
If one particular aspect of feedback is the driving force behind the message, avoid mentioning any additional points that may conflict with the primary message.
3. Communicate for a specific purpose.
Communication specialists should examine how much information to put in a message before the client suffers from information overload.
The most critical messages should be clear and brief, especially in the case of urgent communications. Some leaders feel uncomfortable offering unpleasant criticism. They may choose to bookend the conversation with good input to ease the discomfort.
You may be familiar with the term sandwich feedback. Sandwich feedback has the intention to lessen the impact of harsh criticism. However, it may also convey contradictory signals to the recipient.
Consider if the other points are relevant and timely. Will it have the best impact as the more tough critique? Do you think you’re just using these points to dilute the most important message you’re trying to convey?
New leaders may become more comfortable with and adept at offering feedback to foster employee growth and development by following these recommendations. They should be part of any communication professional’s arsenal.
However, of course, English isn’t the only language when communicating. There’s Spanish, French, German, Russian, Chinese, Japanese. and so on.
Make it a priority to become personally bilingual. Hire in a second language if necessary. Don’t neglect these markets. They may prove a bonanza if you’re willing to make more money. (And who isn’t?)