It starts with a goal. You can give feedback to anyone at anytime, but it becomes really difficult to give if you haven't set a standard, expectation or goal to measure up against.
The goal and expected outcomes
What is it that you want to be done, or the behaviour that you want to see?
When delegating a project or task to a member of your team, you must be clear on what needs to be done, by when and how you would like it to be delivered. It is always good practice to co-create this with your team member and have an open, honest discussion. Let them ask questions, weigh in with their ideas and discuss how they plan to deliver it.
Common Mistake - I work with a number of leaders who ask me to develop their managers key skills. They are able to articulate what the issues are and how they are impacting the business. When I ask them where those skills or behavioural expectations are written down, invariably they aren't. So we go back to basics and create a team charter, a set of core values or behavioural competencies to measure performance against. How can you expect your people to reach a performance level if you haven't communicated what the levels are. This gets even trickier when evaluating performance and relating it to pay.
What is essential is that you are clear about the outcome you are expecting. You need to be clear on what good looks like so you have total clarity over expectations. When delegating or setting a goals without clarity, they become ambiguous and open to interpretation, and those feedback sessions are never easy. If the employee later delivers what they thought was an exceptional piece of work, only to find out that it didn't meet your expectations, you are going to deliver some really unwelcome and unhelpful feedback. That is one way to demotivate your people.
Manage and review
Now you need to manage. What approach is required in this situation?
An effective and highly skilled member of the team doesn't need micro-managing or directing. Instead agree to have regular check-ins and ask them to update you on progress. An inexperienced team member may need coaching and guidance on a regular basis. How will you make the time and adapt your style to be that coaching manager? Sometimes you may need to be more directive and explain the specific steps to be taken and help build confidence and give more regular feedback.
How will you measure and review performance? This is essential and highly dependent on the work to be completed. Perhaps it is easy to collate data or track progress against key milestones. Behavioural elements are more difficult to quantify so be clear on what good looks like and make notes or get feedback from others about the team members performance.
Understand your peoples skill and will levels and agree how they want to be managed.