Giving feedback is crucial to work performance. Every action we take causes a reaction and the reaction or feedback we receive helps us learn whether or not to repeat the action. In essence, to learn and improve we must receive and then act on the feedback we’ve been given. In and of itself this information is a learning tool and isn’t positive or negative. 

Yet most of us cringe at the idea of receiving feedback, especially if it’s critical in any way. And many leaders hesitate to give it because it can be hard to hold people accountable. Feedback is often viewed as a necessary evil only given during the annual review. Some choose not to give it at all, at least in the formal sense. And yet, feedback clarifies expectations, helps people learn from their mistakes, and builds confidence. All of which are important to succeeding at work and building a positive workplace culture. 

A study by Zenger/Folkman revealed that 72% of the participants believed that if their employers provided constructive feedback, work performance and productivity would improve. In addition, 57% of the participants felt that constructive feedback is better than just focusing on personal qualities and work wins. But of course, how the feedback is given is critical to whether or not the recipient can learn and grow from it. One way to ensure that the message encourages growth is to learn to speak to personality type. 

Giving Feedback by Personality Type

Personality type largely determines how people show up at work because it impacts individual motivation, reactions to stress, and emotional needs. Since individuals on a team most likely have a range of personality types, this may seem daunting at first. But it’s worth the effort! Providing regular positive & critical (less is more) feedback to employees improves trust and engagement, which ultimately leads to more profitability.

To get started, we encourage managers to become familiar with the Everything DiSC™ model. There are 4 major personality types and they each show up differently at work. To meet each individual where they are, it’s important to understand how to communicate most effectively with each type.

Giving Feedback to The D-type

When giving feedback to the D-type personality remember that they prefer to have direct discussions. They don’t need you to walk them around the block to get to the point. Instead, they’ll appreciate it if you get right to the point and honestly relay the information. They don’t need the chit-chat and may not want to linger to discuss. Of course, the D-type personality does have feelings, so remember to first point out the things you appreciate about their efforts.

Giving Feedback to The i-type

These are the extroverted, fun-loving, idea-generating, social butterflies on the team. They tend to have a lot of words and need to get them all out by the end of the day. To some, this might come across as attention-seeking and they would be right! The emotional needs of the i-type include attention and also appreciation. Giving feedback then should always begin by asking how they’re doing and or feeling. It will break the ice and help them to be more comfortable. This should be followed by focusing on what they’re doing well. And when giving critical feedback make sure that you offer a tangible process for tracking improvement and then check in with them often.

Giving Feedback to The S-Type

These people are the quiet workers, often in the background making sure everyone else feels included and smoothing teammate’s ruffled feathers. Really, they’re like the glue that holds the team together because they have a need for stability and harmony. Since they’re typically quiet and happy to work in the background, some managers and teammates may assume that they don’t need accolades. But boy, would they be wrong! One of the main emotional needs of the S-type is to feel their worth on the team. When giving feedback then, first make sure they know how much you value their work, their calm presence, and their ability to work behind the scenes. 

Giving Feedback to The C-Type

The C-type focuses heavily on getting things right. They work hard to make sure all t’s are crossed and i’s are dotted. But doing so may cause them to take longer than they had anticipated. In fact, they often underestimate how long something will take them to complete. They also tend to show very little emotion. They look at the world logically and have little patience for workplace drama. And so they often just to prefer to work alone. Giving feedback to the C-type should be based on numbers and facts, and held in private. These people also need to know that you are there to support them if they need it. They rarely ask for help, so it’s important that a manager pay close attention to how they handle their workload. 

To Wrap It Up

Providing feedback based on personality type is an excellent way for managers to show team members that they care about them personally. It reveals that managers are willing to meet their people where they are, and help them move forward. But managers can’t stop there. They have to get into the habit of giving feedback on a regular basis. The combination of regular personalized feedback is what is going to improve individual performance and team dynamics. This is especially true for teams with remote members. As the ‘great resignation’ continues, this one process is key to a manager’s success. 

At Brilliant People™ the foundation of our programming is personality development. Reach out to learn how to put this information to use in your workplace!

You may also like: