How to Foster Employee Trust and Growth Through Constructive Feedback (downloadable pdf) by Ekaterina Walter for Forbes. An article on feedback techniques.
Genuinely care. Here is the important part: they need to know that, as a leader, you truly care. People know when you are putting up smoke and mirrors. If they know you are not genuinely concerned about their growth, they’ll tune out.
Clearly paint your vision. You need to be clear about what you want done and why you want it done. You need to paint the clear picture to help them envision future post-change and their role in it.
Provide real-life examples. Make it relevant to them by providing examples, as well as lessons from your own experience.
Be honest. Whether positive or negative, feedback must be honest. People see right through the BS. You can’t sugarcoat it: “What you’ve done is fantastic, but…” You must lose the “but”s! Period, end of story. Be considerate in your delivery, but don’t embellish.
Be credible. If you want the feedback to be credible and for your employees to listen to you, you have to spend time in understanding what they do, take time to observe how they do it. You can’t be the new guy barging in and trying to drive change without knowing and appreciating the work of your people. You have to spend time building the rapport and putting in the sweat if you want your employees to respond to your direction and to your feedback in a meaningful way.
Lead by example first. You gotta walk the talk. If you want to council people, you have to be able to lead by example (or at least not showcase the negative example). If you recognize that that’s the area you are also deficient in, offer that up and identify it up front. It’s all about being transparent. People get it.