The Art of Giving Feedback To Your Virtual Assistants

One of the essential components of training, managing and working with Filipinos VAs is giving feedback. Doing this at the right time and in the right way can make the difference between a healthy working relationship and a strained one. Giving proper feedback will help your VA grow and improve. It’s only through feedback that your worker can overcome mistakes and know what you expect of them.emp111

But there are good ways and not-so-good ways to give it. Let’s have a closer look at the essential components of good feedback.

What it is and What it Isn’t

There are a number of schools of thought on the subject of feedback. Some experts hearken to the “Sandwich Method,” where the person giving feedback starts and ends with a positive remark, with negative or constructive direction in the middle. Others insist a more direct, to-the-point approach is best.

When working with Filipinos, feedback must be packed with praise. Sure, there are times when you need to provide some direction or even make corrections, but it must be done positively. You must always lead out with heavy praise when giving feedback.

Always, always, always point out the good work your VA has done. Make it a point to shower them with compliments. When they’ve done a good job, tell them. You should do this with anyone, but it’s even more crucial with Filipinos.

video skyping

I’m so glad you’re not angry sir, and thanks for telling me how I can improve on my job.

Being too direct and frank with Filipinos will backfire. People from the Philippines are easily embarrassed, so if you are negative with them, they will take this to mean you are upset with them and want to fire them. If they feel this way, the quality of their work will suffer, and they might even disappear. This is the No. 1 problem you’ll face when working with Filipino VAs.

The fact is, there’s no way you can avoid giving feedback. Author Bob Dignen wrote, “[F]eedback is around us all the time. Every time we speak or listen to another person, in our tone of voice, in the words we use, in the silences which we allow, we communicate feedback—how far we trust, how much we respect, the degree to which we love, like or even hate the person in front of us. We cannot not give feedback. If we think we’re not doing it, we’re a dangerous communicator because it means we are probably not managing communication effectively.”

Dignen also suggests that feedback is an ideal opportunity to motivate the receiver to change behaviors and improve performance. It should also be a two-way dialogue where speaking and listening take place between the two parties.

On the other hand, effective feedback is not berating another person for doing something wrong. It’s not using your authority to undermine someone’s performance or to intimidate that person into giving you something you want. Effective feedback is also much more than a quick, generic compliment like, “Nice job on that last project.”

So how can you deliver feedback so that it leads to meaningful change?

Crucial Steps to Effective Feedback

Anyone can throw out a casual “Way to go” or a terse “I didn’t like that.” But in order for your comments to actually lead to the other person accomplishing a goal, your feedback must go much deeper. Here are some suggestions:

  • Be specific. Instead of a vague criticism or compliment, make sure your feedback relates directly to a measurable goal. Tell the person exactly what he or she did or didn’t do.
  • Make it timely. There few things worse than rehashing old issues long after they occurred. You don’t want your VA to first learn of your concern months after the fact. Appropriately discuss the matter as soon after the instance as possible.
  • Be appropriate and professional. Let go of your emotions when you give feedback. Feedback should be presented in a positive, non-threatening manner. Feedback should be provided in the most appropriate location. You don’t want to later regret things you said and ways you said them.
  • Make it helpful. Your feedback should help your VA doing the best work possible, not give you an excuse to get upset or boss them around.
  • Be truthful and upfront. Delivering honest feedback doesn’t mean intentionally hurting someone’s feelings through heartless badmouthing. Simply tell your VA what he or she did well and what he or she can do better. Don’t patronize the person with made-up, insincere praise. At the same time, don’t exaggerate negative feedback.

Giving Feedback After Poor Work

Because Filipinos don’t respond well to negative feedback, what can you do when they turn in a project and they’ve done absolutely nothing correctly? This is a dilemma because you can’t scold them or yell at them. This could cause them to disappear. At the same time, you might have to point out some things to make sure when they do the task again that they do it correctly.


My boss is so angry, I don’t think I want to work anymore. I’ll just hide here. :(

The best way to handle this scenario is to start out with a positive comment. Try something like, “Thanks for all your hard work on this assignment. I can tell you put a lot of effort into it.” Then you can gently point out some things you would have done differently.

Something else that will help you give effective feedback even when your VA’s work has not met your expectations is to realize that their mess-up probably wasn’t due to lack of trying. It’s very rare for a Filipino worker to be lazy in their work and rush through something without caring. More than likely, the poor work is probably due to insufficient training on your part or a lack of understanding on theirs. Perhaps you didn’t explain things well, or maybe it was a simple matter of clashes in personality or cultural differences.

Feedback Comes in Many Forms

Just because you probably never speak to your VA face to face or rarely even speak to them on the phone, it doesn’t mean you can’t give feedback. You can easily let your worker know how they’re doing and what your expectations are by sending emails. You also do this by evaluating your VA’s projects and tasks by using Jing and other video and screen capture methods. What you say about their performance—both positive and negative—is a form a feedback.

Remember, as you’re giving instructions or corrections on a specific task, your feedback should be for your VA’s benefit. When your VA has a better understanding of how something should be done, they’ll be more successful. With success comes more motivation, and all of these combined will help your business grow.

The results are in

You’ll be amazed at the positive difference effective feedback will make in your business. By Offering effective feedback, you will help mold the behaviors and development in VAs that you’re looking for. Likewise, the VAs receiving the feedback can move forward with confidence and direction and do their jobs with more efficiency.

John JonasAbout John Jonas
John helps business owners learn to outsourcing to the Philippines and replace themselves with virtual assistants.
He founded and owns

He currently employs 14 amazing Filipino workers full-time and loves every one of them. He lives in Utah, has a wonderful wife, 4 amazing kids, and golfs 4-5 times/week.

Find John at and Facebook.

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About: Improving Communication With Your Workers

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