When it Comes to Feedback, Delivery is Everything!

People often have a negative reaction to “feedback” because, over the years, the message was sent but not received, let alone understood. For a variety of reasons, the feedback was often too vague, too direct, too punative, too one-sided, and the list goes on and on. The result? 

Good Feedback + Bad Delivery = Negative Reaction and No Improvement

This has to change because, as Aristotle said, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” In other words, the knowledge of the “whole,” the experience of the “whole,”  the wisdom of the “whole,” is greater (more valuable) than that of a single person on a team. That makes practical sense, right?

So it’s not giving feedback that we need to do away with but rather we need to work on our delivery of the feedback. A bad reaction to feedback is not an employee problem, it’s a leadership problem. 

When giving feedback, great leaders check their motives at the door. They take themselves out the equation and do what is in the best interest of the team or team member. They’re not focused on what’s easiest, but what’s effective. They’re not focused on what they want, but what the team member needs. 

Here’s what I propose. Rather than focusing on the “feedback process,” as if there’s actually a “one size fits all” approach, we focus on defining the “successful outcome.” 

As leaders, what can we do differently to deliver feedback in a way that influences a positive reaction and a successful outcome? 

This is one of those times when you a leader has to turn off “auto pilot” and be very intentional about delivering a clear message, clarifies the best way to deliver the message based on the unique personality and needs of the individual, and is always striving for a positive feedback experience and outcome. 

Good Feedback + Good Delivery = Positive Reaction and Improved Performance

#ExerciseLeadershipToday Feedback Challenge

  1. Think about a specific person in which you need/would like to share feedback. (Think PP — positive feedback or performance feedback. Please do away with the phrase “constructive feedback!”) 
  2. Clarify the most important action you want them to take. Instead of telling them what to do, how can you lead them to the best solution by asking them questions? Asking is much more effective at inspiring people to take action because they think it is their solution, not yours. 
  3. Based on what you know about that individual, what can you do differently to deliver that message in a way that inspires that individual to take action? Be specific and think about positive behaviors that would inspire a positive outcome. 
  4. Is there anything else you can do differently to influence a favorable reaction and positive outcome?
  5. Now, go have this feedback conversation! Remember, this doesn’t have to be a long, drawn-out conversation. Feedback conversations are most effective when they are short and sweet.

Transformational Leaders are Extremely Caring …

Valentine’s Day is this week and it reminds me of the importance of expressing gratitude and

appreciation within our teams, families, and communities. As a leader, these leadership skills address a very important question on the minds of your followers: Do you care about me? Do you care about my struggles? Do you care about my results? Do you care about my successes? Do you care about me as a person?

When it comes to showing appreciation in the workplace some leaders are so concerned about “over appreciating” and appearing “soft” that they don’t express their gratitude or appreciation at all.

Pete Luongo says it best! “The most transformational leaders are extremely caring and extremely demanding.” You don’t have to trade one for the other. You can be both. You can have high expectations AND care about your team at the same time.

According to Gallup’s State of the American Workplace Report, when employees feel like their supervisor, or someone else at work, cares about them they are more likely to: experiment with new ideas, share information, support coworkers personally and professionally, give their manager (and coworkers) the benefit of the doubt, feel equipped to strike a balance between their work and personal lives, and be advocates for their employer.

This week, I want you to look for MORE opportunities to say “Thank You.” If a team member does or says something kind (and you wish everyone else would do more of that), take the time to express your appreciation.

The goal of this Challenge is not to tell you HOW to show appreciation to others but, rather, to get you to JUST DO IT! And do it again! And do it again! And do it as often as it is warranted throughout this week!

Are you in? Are you up for the #ExerciseLeadershipToday Challenge? If so, SHARE a specific experience in the StrengthsBuilders Community and/or the Strengths-Based Leadership Tribe and you will be entered into the monthly drawing for a $25 Amazon gift card!

#strongleaders #strongfamilies #strongcommunities #strongteams #bestrong #2020strong #strengthsbuilders #strongfeedback

Flip the Feedback Script!

As we kick off this month’s featured topic, instead of always thinking of feedback as “GIVING FEEDBACK,” let’s flip the script!

Instead of looking for opportunities to GIVE FEEDBACK this week … I think we should develop the discipline of ASKING for feedback!

Whether you are a leader, team member, parent, or community volunteer, asking others for their feedback is a great way for you to take control of your personal development. Feedback from “key stakeholders” (i.e., trusted colleagues, your children, other volunteers) not only equips you with meaningful insights of where and how you can improve, it also helps to build trust and strengthen important relationships. Asking others for feedback also reinforces the importance of “teamwork” — that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Here are a few tips to help you maximize the opportunity to receive meaningful feedback:

  1. What exactly do you want to know? When asking for feedback, be specific. EXAMPLE: “Hey! I would like to get better at ‘x.’ I really value your feedback and was wondering if you would share with me … “
  2. Practice asking for just ONE THING. Asking for too much feedback can defeat the purpose. Set yourself up for success by making the feedback forward-focused and managable. EXAMPLE: “Hey! I would like to get better at ‘x.’ I really value your feedback and was wondering if you would share with me ONE THING I could do better …”
  3. Clarify the “desired outcome.” When asking for feedback, don’t focus on a “job responsibility” or task (i.e., public speaking, organizing an event) but, rather, focus on the “desired outcome” (i.e., engaging more quickly with my audience, increasing the engagement at my events). EXAMPLE: “Hey! I would like to get better at ‘x.’ I really value your feedback and was wondering if you would share with me ONE THING I could do better that would help me close a prospective client faster?”
  4. Once someone shares meaningful feedback with you, don’t forget to say Thank You! EXAMPLE: Thank you so much! This feedback is extremely valuable to me. I appreciate your support and willingness to share. This is priceless!”  

Final thought. As you are learning how to effectively “ask” for feedback, your colleagues are learning how to effectively “give” feedback. During the conversation, be fluid and learn to actively navigate the “ask” so that you get feedback that is meaningful and truly equips you to achieve excellence!

#ExerciseLeadershipToday Challenge: Who’s up for the challenge of asking for feedback this week? Once you complete the #ExerciseLeadershipToday Challenge, SHARE your experience in the StrengthsBuilders Community or the Strengths-Based Leadership Tribe to enter a monthly drawing for a $25 Amazon Gift Card! Make sure you use #strongfeedback when posting your experience!