When most people hear “I have some feedback for you” it raises negative connotations. Why is this so? Why do so many people have a problem with giving and receiving feedback?
In my experience it is because most Leaders only give negative feedback. That’s right they only give ‘feedback’ to staff when something goes wrong and this creates an uneasiness with the word feedback.
So in order improve how we go about our day to day tasks, we need to make Feedback welcomed and included in our daily conversations.
Now don’t have a fit thinking you have to give negative feedback and tell people they are doing things wrong every day.
Ideally feedback should be given regularly regardless of whether things are going well or not. Feedback should occur when things are moving along well, when you see an opportunity to do things differently to meet changing needs or when things are no longer working or something has actually gone wrong.
To increase your effectiveness feedback should be considered in a manner of “it’s how we do things around here”.
Feedback should be welcomed by all, you should give and receive feedback to each other regularly regardless of your position and level within the organisation. Feedback should be organic and immediate – as soon as you recognise something that is working well, tell the person! If you can see an opportunity for improvement, tell them! Don’t sit on it and tell them days or weeks later.
Likewise if you notice something that no longer works or that has been done incorrectly, approach that person and let them know. Explain to them what you saw, why you feel there is an opportunity to do it better and what the outcome of making the change will be - what’s the benefit of the change, and how you can work together to make the change.
So how do you implement this approach into your team.
Here’s 11 handy tips on feedback
1. Feedback should only be given with good grace and a desire to help others.
2. Concentrate on the How and What of the situation – not the why – when you ask “why did you do that” people become defensive.
A better way to find out why someone did something is to ask:
“How does your action help you achieve the outcome you are looking for?”
“What outcome were you seeking when you ….. (raised your voice in the meeting?) or
“When you spoke over the top of *person A* in the meeting, did you intend to make them angry?”
Use questions to check whether their actions achieved their desired result.
3. Feedback should be given in a timely manner – ideally immediately, or as soon as possible after you notice the good work, opportunity or problem.
4. When giving feedback watch for their body language, movement, eye contact as well as words and tone of their voice to see if they are onboard with your comments or whether you need to alter your approach to get your message across.
5. Check for understanding – ask them how they feel about your observations and ideas and if they see it as something that can be implemented or is there something they think would prevent your idea from moving forward?
6. Be consistent in your feedback, don’t say they are doing something well today and tomorrow tell them it’s wrong.
7. Give praise where praise is due and congratulate people on their work and things that have been done well – this is still feedback and will encourage them to continue to do good work.
8. Encourage your team to experiment! Yep, try things out and encourage them to make mistakes!
Get them to give each other and you feedback on their learnings when things don’t go the way you (or they) thought they would – embrace this process.
9. Feedback should be given in a learning manner in order to embrace and enact a change. Use words such as:
* I noticed that ……
* Have you considered…..
* I have heard of a new way of …….
* Have you ever thought about how we could do things differently with …..
10. You should be able to explain what the problem/issue/opportunity is, the need for the change and what the benefit or outcome of the change will be.
11. Consider who you are giving the feedback to and adjust your approach accordingly:
* you asking someone who has designed and developed a process to change the whole thing – how can you approach them so that they will not be defensive and will listen to your feedback?
* ask them how they feel the process is working and get their feedback – they may have already noticed the same thing as you, but didn’t know who to approach or how to change it.
* ask them if they can see any opportunities for change/improvement and listen to their ideas.
* explain to them that you have seen an opportunity where you think if a change was made it would benefit them/the department/organisation by explaining the benefit.
* then explain the change you want to make.
* get their buy in and listen to their thoughts about the situation.
* agree who is going to take this forward to the next step and clarify expectations.
If you want to grow and develop, or learn more about leadership and coaching, contact CLC to get started
Now is the time to reflect on what you did in 2017 and plan for what you want to achieve in 2018.
Let’s reflect first
If you want to achieve something you have to take action towards achieving it.
If you didn’t get the results you wanted in 2017, then plan to take action and do something in 2018 to move you towards your goals.
Don’t sit around waiting for the world to come to you – go out there and grab hold of what you want. To create new opportunities, you will have to do things differently and make changes – that’s OK, change is good.
Start by doing small simple things every day. Make changes by creating good habits. Good habits done daily will become second nature to you and be ‘just what you do’.
Think of some things you can do differently every day – right now – thing of some things and write them down!
Here’s a few things I’ve thought of or have worked with people that have made these simple changes every day:
Are your priorities still the same at the end of the day as they were at the beginning of the day or have things changed?
What are you going to achieve in 2018?
Now is the time to sit back and think about what you want to achieve in 2018. Take 30-60 minutes to write down whatever comes into your mind – do it now!
Look at the list you have just written.
Now look at one or two other goals you really want to achieve this year – focus on them. Ask yourself the same questions for these other goals. Now make a plan.
Know what you want
Know what outcome you want from each goal
Create an action plan for each of your goals
Be aware of what is going on around you – eg: how will you know if you are working towards achieving your goal, or just wasting time?
Read the signs, what is going on around you that tells and shows you that you are on track?
How will you know when an opportunity presents itself? Be prepared to utilise all opportunities that may arise.
Notice changes when they occur – take note and learn from experiences.
Whilst you need to create a plan and have a goal – don’t be too stringent upon that plan. Be flexible. In life things change and plans don’t always work out as you think, so don’t be fixated on doing it ‘your way’.
See the signs and go with the flow and change your approach if circumstances change or your plan moves.
Show your intentions
Tell yourself every day something that you are going to do to move closer to your goal.
See any obstacle or situation in a way that creates an opportunity for you to learn and understand more or to allow you to look at things differently.
Be responsible for your success, overcome obstacles when they arise. If you find yourself ‘facing a brick wall’, don’t stop - find a way to go around it or climb over the top.
It’s only a temporary obstacle. Be in control and don’t allow other things to get in your way, learn from those blockages or experiences and move forward.
Now, make those plans and start looking forward to the future you can create for yourself.
If you know you want to achieve something and are unsure of where to start, Corporate Leadership Coaching can help you gain focus and clarity around your goals, so make contact and let CLC help you.
Helen brings a wealth of experience gained over 20 years in Human Resources in Australia and overseas.
Images by JKO
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