Stage 4 and the final stage in the delegation process is the art of giving feedback.  We must provide feedback, and if we don't, we have a potentially dangerous situation where the individual concerned believes they have done a competent job if they haven't, then they must be made aware. Always give feedback immediately after the work, don't give it too long, or people will forget.  Feedback should be delivered in a friendly and conversational type manner.  However, always ensure you provide feedback on a one to one basis and away from everyone else.  When we deliver feedback, we always use the bathtub process: 

Let them have their say first.  Ask "How do you think that went?" - Don’t step in! It’s their time to talk.  Give them the chance to say how they think they have done. If they haven’t achieved competence, it is possible they will be able to identify why and this will help them to ‘own’ the feedback they receive.

Give praise first - Most people will find it difficult to improve if they feel they are a failure.  By focusing first on their strengths and then helping them to recognise their weaker areas, you can give individuals enough confidence to deal with what went wrong.

Concentrate on things that can be changed, the areas for improvement - For feedback to be useful, it must allow for the possibility of improvement.  If there are factors that you know cannot be changed, the feedback relating to this is a waste of time.  It is far more useful to concentrate on what can be changed.

Give people time to think and respond - Successful feedback involves a dialogue between two individuals committed to improvement.  If you have given the individual a new perspective on some aspect of competence, it could take some time for them to absorb.  Only when they have absorbed it and then responded, can the planning for improvement take place.

Check to ensure they understand - Think of the language you are using and ensure it is the right level and tone, dependent upon experience and confidence of the individual. Reinforce the key points of the feedback by asking them to explain what they are going to do next time.  Don’t just tell them; let them explain in their own words.

Always finish with "Any questions" - The last thing you want is an employee to have a question but not want to ask because they haven’t been asked.

Be aware of how the employee is reacting to your feedback.  Look for non-verbal cues that they are confused or that they do not agree. Following the feedback, actions can then be agreed that may include time scales and key action points for development.

Ralph Moody is the founder of Target Training and specialises in trainer and management development.  You can read more about him here.  You can read more about the management courses Ralph delivers training on including the prestigious Foundation Management Development Programme (FMDP) here.