A common mistake made by managers when giving feedback is to ask questions which are unclear. This can easily make the conversation more difficult than it should have been.
Let me give you an example:
“Fred, I have noticed you have been late in submitting your figures for the last two weeks and this is having a knock-on impact delaying the new marketing campaign.”
(so far so good)
“What’s the problem? Is it to do with the new software or is it because you are waiting on Jim in sales? Is there anything I need to know and how can I help?”
(Fred now has a choice of which question to answer and will probably plump for the easiest)
“Thanks boss, no everything is now under control and I will let you know if I need any help.”
The result of the above exchange is minimal. The manager is none the wiser about what has happened and Fred is none the wiser as to what the manager wants him to do in future.
A much better question would have been:
“What’s the problem?”
(Fred talks about the situation and you listen, before asking a second question)
“What do you need to do to ensure your figures are always submitted on time in future?”
Multiple questions do not help the person receiving the feedback so keep your questions short, simple and only ask one at a time.