I have four directs that are located throughout the state. One direct needs some negative feedback, yet I hesitate to provide it unless I am face-to-face with him. This means that the feedback is not always timely. What suggestions do you have to make remote feedback effective?

Kevin1's picture


As Nike would say - just do it.

My directs are in different countries.  My current boss is in another state and i was previously managed from another country.  When I mess up, I want to know now so I can start correcting.  There is no way I want to make things worse by stringing together a series of similar mess ups. My directs have always indicated that they feel the same.

In my experience being a remote recipient actually makes it easier to keep the conversation short.  Your body language can't let you down either.

If you wait, the problem gets bigger, the direct gets more off track and the correction required gets more serious.  Use a phone.  Sooner the better.  At worst wait until your next one on one with them.  

Hope that helps


svibanez's picture


Thank you for sharing your experience with receiving the remote feedback.  I am in a situation similar to ttruax and it has been difficult for me to roll out feedback as I was concerned that it would not be effective.  Your comment reminds me that I always wanted feedback when I was remote from my boss and there is no good reason to believe my remote direct doesn't feel the same. 


stingraycbs's picture


I have a direct in Thailand, one in China and dotted line reports in New Zealand and Saudi Arabia.

When talking about feedback I rember my Chinese colleguage saying that she wants more feedback on "improvement areas". This you might call "negative feedback"

I really like the term "adjusting feedback". It is not negative at all. If you keep it on the "content level" which means "not-personal" it is usually well accepted.

In my one on ones I have the feedbacks from the week on small sticky notes and work though them. And in the same way I ask them to continue on their positive behaviors, I ask them also what he/she or we can do better next time to improve.

All these sessions run on skype. Positive and negative/adjusting feedback is becoming so normal. If you make a big story around it, it will get worse.

To make it more effective you should train it. Take a camera in front of you and transfer the message; usually this schould be 30 seconds or less. Then look at the video and adjust yourself. Then it should be easy to transfer it over skype. If you only use a telephone connection, then make an adio recording.

A great book on this topic is also :Crucial Conversations - Tools for talking when stakes are high (Kerry Patterson

Using the feedback model it should make it pretty easy in the end.

What kind of feedback would you like to give?




ttruax's picture

Thank you for the suggestions. I will hold my adjusting feedback until our weekly one-on-ones, unless it is a behavior that needs to be immediately recognized.