Giving feedback like a pro
Saturday nights in winter, full of sequins sparkling and the comments flying as celebrities dance in front of an audience of millions with the confidence of a pro. A real example how quality feedback (and help from the costumes) can result in significant performance improvement.
Here are some of the pointers we can take from the judges in using feedback as an encouragement tool when managing our teams.
- Make sure the person knows what is expected of them – don’t just let the person get on with it – set tangible expectations, work on the detail until it is understood, tweak if required and importantly instill a sense of confidence that the person is able to reach their potential.
- Consider your relationship – we want the person to accept the feedback but not all relationships are that open and honest. Consider the possible factors that will distort the messages and ways to address these.
- Be authentic and encourage – do not suddenly change your style but also consider how you communicate. Important that “feedback” does not cause dread in your team. Skills are the ones we use on a daily basis – empathy, saying positive things, tackling issues, listening, questioning, summarising and tackle issues head on. Don’t save up everything up for one huge meeting – it’s okay to give feedback if a job is done well or it is obvious things need addressing.
- Structuring difficult feedback – positive feedback is the norm but how do we structure more difficult feedback? Format I have found useful over the years:
- Preparation: Know what you are trying to achieve, examples to use and identify questions that will encourage the other person to talk.
- Control: Think about where you are going to give the feedback.
- Contract: State at the beginning what the discussion is about.
- Being specific:
- What you did or said was…
- The impact of that on me was…
- I felt…
- I think your intention was this… (ask a question)
- If this were to happen again, I would ask that…
- This will lead to…
- Summarise feedback
- Agree next steps plus support
Summarise: Pull it all together at the end so that you are both clear on what was discussed and any actions and check understanding.