Use the ‘F’ word more this year and I guarantee you’ll get better results. Trust me. In fact, you can call me at this time next year and if you do what we say and it doesn’t work – I’ll take you to lunch!
The ‘F’ word needs to be used at work way more than it is now. It can be uncomfortable, seen as unacceptable and is often misused and misinterpreted. It can be a critical kick in the butt that inspires your people to pivot, course correct and dig deeper.
Yes people, we’re talking about Feedback.
One of the biggest complaints we get from all levels within an organization is that their leaders rarely give feedback, and when they do, it isn’t very good. Let’s make this really simple: Intentional feedback is everything when it comes to developing your people, yet most leaders do a terrible job at it and it’s something people on your team yearn for.
Let’s shoot straight: NOT giving intentional feedback is the most selfish thing a leader can do. Sit with that for a moment…
We don’t give feedback when we are scared to hurt feelings, when we don’t want to crush confidence or when we are are so focused on the tasks at work that we don’t pay attention to the people who deliver the work.
Here’s what’s messed up about all of this. We are constantly giving feedback – through our inaction, behaviors and lack of acknowledgement. Even NOT giving feedback is a form of feedback that shapes the habits and behaviours of those on your team. What we want you to provide is intentional feedback.
Let’s differentiate two types of feedback we teach. Both are equally important.
Notice how people show up through recognizing the behaviors they bring to their work. Celebrate the values that are expressed in your culture. The resilience, the tenacity, collaboration. When you go beyond what they did and recognize how they behaved – you’ll start to see more of those behaviors that help your team be successful. It’s basically like magic.
When things aren’t where you expect or need, it’s time to redirect and get them on the right path. ASAP. Don’t wait until reviews or your 1:1 meeting. Do it now and do it quickly.
We use a simple 3-step model for giving feedback that works well with both Recognition and Redirection. it’s important to prepare feedback before you deliver it, so that it’s concise and sticky.
- Describe the behavior you see. “Here’s what I see you doing.” Remember you may not see the whole story, but your perspective is one of the most important ones.
- Describe the impact this behavior has. “This is the impact I see.” The behavior may affect other people, other tasks, or create a perception.
- Make a clear request for the action you’d like the person to take. “My request is that you…” This model is the B-I-D model – behavior, impact, do. Try it out. Practice. Don’t be surprised if it’s clunky at first.
Here are more tips on how to be intentional with your feedback.
- Talk to your people ABOUT feedback. Part of being a good leader is helping your people understand the importance of feedback. Why you’ll give it, how you’ll give it and that your feedback may not be great immediately, but you’re working on it…
- Be specific. Remember when your baseball coach would say, “Keep your eye on the ball?” That probably wasn’t very helpful. What would have been more helpful is if the coach had drawn large letters on the sides of a baseball and asked the player what letter they saw when they swung. That would have given them something specific to focus on, rather than a vague, not so helpful statement. Get better at very clearly stating what success looks like.
- Show them the gap. If the quality isn’t there, show them a piece of work that operates as the benchmark. Really invest the time in helping them see the difference between their work or behaviors and what’s desired.
- Ask for examples. This is your metric to see how clearly you communicated. Ask them to tell you how they might do things differently next time. This not only helps you determine if they get it, but also helps them forecast and see clearly situations where they can employ the new actions.
- What’s next. Don’t leave it here. Design a plan so they know how and when you will check in with them and what they can expect you to do if you see some of the old work or behaviors pop up. Collaborate on a plan and work as a team to develop what’s needed.
Try this. Trust me, if you commit to the ‘F’ word, you will develop your people at a faster pace, they will feel valued and you will start to see better and better results. If not, we’ve got a lunch date in 2019.