Wednesday, June 2, 2010

So. How Am I Doin?

This is a question that your staff shouldn’t have to ask you. If you’re “managing by wondering around” (MBWA) and giving clear concise FEEDBACK, they shouldn’t have to. But many leaders do put off giving feedback to staff even though they know that giving and getting honest feedback is essential for growth and development of successful staff and organizations. Hmmm. Maybe it’s because there are so many ways to mess it up and people just don’t know the most effective way make it right.

I know, I know. You’ve heard all the tips and common mistakes for feedback. Well, you must be an expert then. Wrong. I’m continually finding new and interesting twists. And here’s one now. In an article by Brian Ward called "How To Provide Feedback", he gives these five easy tips:

1 - Never just 'deliver feedback'. Feedback should be part of a larger process which includes coaching for superior performance. Feedback is ONE step in that process.

2 - Provide feedback to the whole person. Treat each person as a whole person, not just the part that you observe that needs attention. The person receiving feedback isn’t broken, and they don't need to be fixed. Provide praise and reinforcement when you catch them doing something right, as well as feedback when they are off track.

3 - Make feedback a conversation, not a lecture. Keep it conversational. If a conversation does not happen naturally, then back off and ask yourself and the other person a simple question "what are you feeling (or thinking) right now?"

4 - Think about their goals as well as yours. Discuss the feedback in the context of what will make the person more successful. Don't just concentrate on your goals or the company's goals. That makes the conversation too one-sided. If the person has no goals, then . . . that's what you need to address first.

5 - Finish on a positive note. Okay, so some feedback sessions may not finish that way. But you have to ask yourself why that's so . . . is it because you've let the issues compound, and perhaps it’s gone too far? Either way, offer support to the person as a way to stay in the picture. Never let them struggle alone . . . stay close to them and coach, coach, coach!

If you’re not doing these things then who is? Probably no one, I’d imagine. You OWE it to your staff, yourself, and your organization to make good feedback part of your continuous development regime.

No comments: