Refer to what they are doing good first and then give them feedback. Point out a good quality, such as their timeliness before giving feedback which may help ease the criticism.
As a part of our series about “How To Give Honest Feedback without Being Hurtful”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Christina Kumar.
Christina Kumar is a featured journalist and Award-Winning Entrepreneur. She is the co-author of Redesign Your 9-to-5: Advice and Strategies from 50 of the World’s Most Ambitious Business Owners and Entrepreneurs.
Thank you so much for joining us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?
Ihave always had a great interest in business. I loved learning about it and would create new ideas for products and stores for fun. I knew it would be a field I would eventually be in. After winning a competition a few years ago, I had launched Rated Star.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
It has become a top 17% store in traffic on its platform. When I was young, I had created a virtual store for fun and learned marketing on my own before I knew that was an actual profession. I learned how to design an online store, get products, market and build in a game. I liked it enough to actually create a business with an online store when I grew. I had the confidence I could build and grow it from these past experiences.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?
I have had some very interesting stories that happened to me since I started my career. Being featured on Huffington Post and ABC News 10 being one of them.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I had once overlooked a marketing platform when first starting thinking there would never be someone buying from it and put my attention to other platforms. One day, I decided to add the platform to the marketing strategy and it ended up at the time being the biggest profit generating channel. I was surprised and I learned from then to give underestimated strategies more attention.
What advice would you give to other CEOs and business leaders to help their employees to thrive and avoid burnout?
What I would advise is to definitely take breaks especially after working hours to take a walk or do something that gets you to destress in a healthy way. Prioritize health and make sure to get your nutritional needs met.
How do you define “Leadership”? Can you explain what you mean or give an example?
Leadership is successfully leading a team of people to desired and ethical results. I believe you can be a leader in many areas of your life; in career, family, friendships, as well as community. The best leaders inspire the most people and are giving.
In my work, I often talk about how to release and relieve stress. As a busy leader, what do you do to prepare your mind and body before a stressful or high stakes meeting, talk, or decision? Can you share a story or some examples?
I calm my nerves by centering my thoughts and practicing important talks. When I have an important conversation or meeting for example; I practice the main points I want to focus on beforehand to be prepared and confident.
Ok, let’s jump to the core of our interview. Can you briefly tell our readers about your experience with managing a team and giving feedback?
Having managed teams, there is a need to be more thorough with what you are saying especially if it is through emails. When giving critical feedback it is important to be respectful and explain what you expect in a clear manner. It is easy for a conversation to be misinterpreted. Allow conversations to start with what the team members are doing right and conversations to end with a question for clarification.
This might seem intuitive but it will be constructive to spell it out. Can you share with us a few reasons why giving honest and direct feedback is essential to being an effective leader?
As an entrepreneur and business owner I am always in contact with many interesting people whom I have to communicate with on a daily basis. Knowing when and how to say things is important for communication and is an ongoing process. Being kind and straightforward is important in maintaining long and productive relationships while still giving constructive feedback.
One of the trickiest parts of managing a team is giving honest feedback, in a way that doesn’t come across as too harsh. Can you please share with us five suggestions about how to best give constructive criticism to a remote employee? Kindly share a story or example for each.
- Refer to what they are doing good first and then give them feedback. Point out a good quality, such as their timeliness before giving feedback which may help ease the criticism.
- When upset; wait until you are calm to bring up a conversation. If you don’t wait and react with your emotions; the relationship can be strained.
- Always thank them for trying their best after giving any feedback. This is a good way to show appreciation and value your team.
- Ask if they need clarification on what your feedback is. When giving feedback, there can be times it gets misconstrued. By asking if they need more clarification; they may then feel more comfortable in doing so.
- Let them know the importance of improving after the feedback you give. If you don’t state the importance of the feedback being acted upon; the team may not feel obliged to act upon it immediately.
Can you address how to give constructive feedback over email? If someone is in front of you much of the nuance can be picked up in facial expressions and body language. But not when someone is remote.
How do you prevent the email from sounding too critical or harsh?
Starting off with a compliment or a positive statement is helpful and can start the conversation on a good note. Giving a reason why it is important for you to give the feedback as well and ways on how they can improve can be more helpful in terms of company morale than being critical and demanding. Also, by ending the email with words of appreciation; you show that you care.
In your experience, is there a best time to give feedback or critique? Should it be immediately after an incident? Should it be at a different time? Should it be at set intervals? Can you explain what you mean?
Different situations call for different measures. When it’s a matter of business; a quick resolve is best. When it is a personal issue where emotions are running high; then waiting for a better and more appropriate time is best.
How would you define what it is to “be a great boss”? Can you share a story?
Being a great boss means being able to lead well. Treating those who you work with right as well as holding yourself accountable for good ethics. Looking at your company’s environmental footprint as well as finding ways to improve on it are also definitions of a great boss.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Being less selfish. I think the best ways to solve a problem is to be less selfish. There would be a lot more good in the world if people made decisions that benefited others as well.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
Keep looking for the best in things. Positivity can get you through hard situations.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
You can follow me on Linkedin at www.linkedin.com/in/christinakumar1 and order my co-authored book: Redesign Your 9-to-5: Advice and Strategies from 50 of the World’s Most Ambitious Business Owners and Entrepreneurs on Amazon.
Thank you for these great insights! We really appreciate the time you spent with this.