Giving better feedback is not just a way to boost morale. It’s a way to get better work product.
Here’s one secret for great feedback: Tell your associates what to do, not what to be. If you simply tell them to be clearer, more concise, more organized, or more anything, nothing will change. Why? Because your associates already share those goals.
What you need—and they need—are specific, practical editing techniques.
No: “You need to be more concise.”
- Yes: “Cut 20% of the words in your next memo.”
No: “You need to be more accurate.”
- Yes: “Verify all cross-referenced provisions and triple-check all party names and currencies before submitting the next draft of this agreement.”
No: “You need to be more organized and persuasive.”
- Yes: “Start your motion with three specific reasons why the judge should do what you want, and then use those reasons as your argument headings.”
No: “You need to be clearer when you write.”
- Yes: “Read your document aloud and make at least one stylistic improvement to every sentence.”