Join Mike Figliuolo for an in-depth discussion in this video Providing feedback, part of Building High-Performance Teams.
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- If we want people to improve, we have to give them feedback. Now, feedback can be really difficult, because we feel like, maybe I might hurt their feelings, or I have to share an uncomfortable conversation, or I'm telling somebody who I really like and respect that they're falling short in some regard. So, we avoid feedback, but that's a huge mistake, especially as the leader of a high performing team. So, I'd like to offer an example of a feedback model that can remove the emotion from it and help people focus on improving performance versus getting defensive.
And the model goes like this. First, you'll ask for permission to give somebody feedback and ensure, at that moment, that they're open to receiving it, because their head may not be in it. They may have come out of a tough meeting, or they're in a rush to go to their next meeting. So, making sure they're ready to receive feedback is critical. Next, they should let you know that they are open to receiving that feedback. The next step really matters a lot, in terms of removing the emotion from it.
You're going to offer a fact-based observation of something you saw them do and then confirm that they know it happened, so that you're operating from a common base of fact. They should then confirm to you that they recall the event. Then you need to let them know, this is how that made me feel. This is how that event impacted me, or this is how that event impacted somebody else on the team. And then ask, can you see why your behavior impacted me that way? Hopefully, they can then understand why you felt that way and put themselves in your shoes, and then comes the request for change.
Let them know specifically what behavior you want them to demonstrate going forward and ask them for their commitment to that behavior. Hopefully, they'll commit to making that behavioral change, and then you thank them for being open to that feedback and for committing to the change, and ideally, even offer them, let me know how I can help you make these changes, if there are things I can be doing differently to support you. Allow me to offer an example.
Let's imagine I have a member of my team who shows up late for my meetings on a regular basis. So, I may pull that person aside and say, hey, would it be okay if I gave you some feedback right now? There's something I'd like to share with you. They would then say, yes, I'm happy to receive the feedback. I then offer that fact-based observation. Hey, what I've noticed is, for all of our staff meetings this week, you've been between five and 10 minutes late for each one of them.
Do you recognize that you've been late to the meetings? Do you remember that you were late to those few staff meetings this week? And I'm seeing if they recall the events. And they say, yeah, I know I was late. You know, I was running late between meetings. I had some back-to-backs, but yeah, I was late to all of the staff meetings. Then I let them know the way it makes me feel. Well, the way it makes me feel is, I'm setting up these staff meetings so we can all coordinate, and it's very frustrating for me because we have to recap things after you come in the room, and, candidly, it makes me feel like you don't really respect my time, and it makes me feel like I'm less important than other things you have going on.
Do you understand why I feel that way and why I get frustrated when you come in late? Then, hopefully they can confirm for me that they understand. Well, yeah, I can see that. You know, I didn't mean to impact you that way, but I understand why it's frustrating when I show up, and we have to go back to the beginning of the agenda. Then I let them know what the behavioral change is. Hey, what I'd like is if you could schedule a little bit of slack time between your meetings or maybe not two meetings back-to-back, and if you could commit to being on time for these staff meetings, I would really appreciate it.
Are you willing to commit to that? And hopefully, they'd say, you know what, I can do that. I can make that change and manage my calendar better, and I'm going to commit to being on time for our staff meetings going forward. Hey, thanks a lot for listening. I really appreciate you being open to the feedback, and if there are things I can do to make it easier for you to be on time, please let me know what they are. Maybe we need to choose a different time for the staff meetings. So, if there's anything I can do that will make it easier for you, I'm happy to do that.
So, as we walk through that feedback model, hopefully I've removed emotion from the conversation and helped them focus on a specific behavior and a specific change that's delivered in a very non-threatening way. So, as you think about providing feedback to your people, I encourage you to follow this feedback model and see how it goes.
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- The PMI Registered Education Provider logo is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.