I have worked with leaders for over 20 years and one constant I have heard over that time has been “my people don’t like getting feedback.” We all are very aware of how uncomfortable we feel when we need to tell someone that something they are doing is not working well. And we worry about embarrassing people by lavishing praise on them. Yet, as a leader, our feedback to our people is one of the most important things we can give them to help them succeed. Time and time again it has been proven that people need feedback, both internal self-feedback and external feedback from their leader. In fact, there are numerous books and long training programs devoted to providing feedback.
Today I just want to share a quick tip that I have used to help leaders, and myself, overcome reluctance to provide feedback in two ways. First, it focuses on the value of the feedback to the other person. Second, it makes it easier to just dive in and give timely feedback.
For positive feedback include:
- What – the person said or did. A short clear statement of the behavior, statement, project, task, activity or performance level. Stay focused on the behaviors.
- Why – why was the behavior, statement, project, task, activity or performance level valuable or significant to you, to the team, to a student, to the school, to the organization.
For corrective or negative feedback simply add one step:
- What – the person said or did. A short clear statement of the behavior, statement, project, task, activity or performance level. Stay focused on what did or did not happen, the behaviors.
- Why – what negative consequence did the behavior, statement, project, task, activity or performance level have on you, the team, a student, the school, or the organization.
- Suggested alternative – a brief recommended option and why it would have a different impact or outcome.
- Providing an option allows your team member to stay accountable for their own behavior by making a choice
- Briefly describing the different impact helps your team member stay focused on the outcome and not take the feedback as personal
That is all! Keeping feedback concise and relevant lets your people know how they are making a difference.