We are delighted to share a guest post this week from Kevin Watson of My Own Coach, a great company we have the privilege of working with on many leadership and team development initiatives; here Kevin offers some thoughtful reminders of what success looks like when giving feedback.
Critical - never happy, always finding something to complain about, hard on people. Generally believes that you have to keep on top of people to get results.
Nice - wants to be mates with his people, likes to entertain and have a laugh. Feedback is likely to be vague and useless.
Absent - never says much, expects people to get on with it. Believes that giving people a salary is feedback enough.
- people giving feedback will only pay small attention to the positive feedback and;
- because of this most people can hear the "but" coming a mile off
- people are, most of the time, hungry for more love, affection, warmth and respect, particularly at work
- sincere appreciation is like an oasis in the desert, like giving water to a thirsty traveller
Your success or not with feedback depends on how well you learn to give feedback to yourself. You'll tend to treat others pretty much the way you treat yourself and so the place to start is with the way you talk to yourself, about yourself and about your own results. Learning to give yourself helpful feedback is the single most important change you can make to how you manage others.
Be timely - give feedback within five minutes, as people find it easier to both confirm good performance and change current performance while events are recent.
Be specific - start with three or four behaviours, praising, appreciating or drawing attention to them by being specific, e.g. "I thought the way you explained that by using your story was really helpful", or "I noticed you listening carefully to that customer explaining her problem and I was impressed, well done"
This is the most important part of the feedback because you are drawing attention to stuff that you want them to do more of. Make it pleasurable for them to do more of it.
Shine a light - highlight a single specific behaviour that would make it even better next time, e.g. "You could be even better next time if you remembered to write down their phone number and repeat it back to them as they told you"
Finish on a high - this time make the comment about their identity, NOT their behaviour, e.g. "You're a good salesman and I really value having you on my team"