How do we give feedback that works and is effective?
Ideally, feedback is meant to be a gift. It’s a way for someone to be better and to do better. But as we all know, it doesn’t work this way in real life. People sometimes get triggered by feedback, positive or negative. So the question is, how do we give feedback that works? How do we communicate to our team members the things we want to say, without activating the fight-or-flight response of their brain?
Here’s a video of me sharing some tips on how to give feedback that works and is effective.
Feedback. It’s meant to be a gift, it’s meant to be what we enjoy. Now the reality is that your brain is geared to look for pain and pleasure and that’s the amygdala in it.
It’s a little part of your brain and it’s always on scanning for potential pleasure but also scanning for danger.
Now anything like negative feedback is gonna be seen as a danger. And what anything like negative feedback is gonna do is gonna make your brain hyper-focused on that threat. The person giving you feedback may say you’re brilliant at loads and loads of things but you’re just gonna hear the one but. You’re gonna hear the one problem.
So how do you as a manager, give feedback in a way that is seen as a gift and is a way that it is accepted?
So first of all, you’ve gotta give the feedback as nearest to that time as possible. It’s gotta be as near to the time as possible. The longer you leave it, the more you maybe as a manager start to get resentful and if it’s positive feedback the less value it has the longer you leave it.
So the first tip is to give it as soon as possible.
The second tip is ditch feedback models like KISS, I think it’s keep it simple stupid. Ditch any feedback models, you’ve gotta give it as real as possible, ditch any feedback sandwiches. You don’t wanna give positive, negative, positive cause people are still only gonna hear the negative.
What you’re aiming to do is make sure that the feedback is heard and understood and also something is gonna happen about it, if it’s negative of course. So of course if it’s positive it’s easy.
Now, you might think that people really appreciate public recognition, not everyone does. It’s different strokes for different folks. So what you’ve gotta do is know the individuals well enough, do they appreciate the positive feedback in public or do they prefer it given in private?
The second thing is with feedback is we need to take the subjectiveness out of it, we need to take the opinion as much out of it, it’s got to be, what did I see and what was the impact of that?
It’s not about, you were great but, try and take that but out of it, is, in the meeting, so the situation, I saw you do this so I saw you, not say a word in the meeting, in the meeting I saw you not say a word.
What was the behaviour? You didn’t say a word. What was the outcome? The outcome of that was, the client just spoke to me. When we last sat down, you wanted to have more opportunity to build a relationship with the client, to build the profile. The impact of that was the client still spoke to me, so let’s talk about how in future, I can support you.
Now it’s really important that it’s not about you putting the blame on them, it’s about, if I’m your line manager, I am responsible for your behaviour so it’s not about you did wrong there. Anything, where you put the blame, is really gonna put them into a defensive state.
So it is about situation, behaviour, and outcome.
And then how can I support you? What needs to happen differently? How can I help you, so in that example, when we’re next with this client, or between now and then, how do I help you start to have the dialogue and lead the relationship? What do I need to do to help you?
Have you noticed, you’re not telling them what, you’re asking them what do I need to do? And what you’re trying to do is get them to take ownership. The really important and I can’t stress it enough is, don’t put the blame on them, you should have done this, you should have done that, is gonna put them in a defensive state. It’s about taking the responsibility yourself for their actions because if you’re their line manager, your role is to help them perform at that high level.
So it’s about, what can I do to support you? Identify the behaviour, identify the situation, identify the behaviour, identify the outcome and then ask the question of what can I do to support you?