Feedback, both positive and negative, is critical for successfully managing your team. Ways to share feedback, individually and collectively, are shared.
- Say someone on your team misses a deadline. Do you address it right away or do you wait to see if it becomes a pattern? If you do address it, how do you go about giving that feedback? Feedback is a critical aspect of managing a team. The more often you provide it, the better. It's important to provide both positive and constructive feedback to the people on the teams you manage, individually and collectively. It's best to keep these conversations simple and frequent. One way I find to be extremely useful in providing feedback is SBI.
It stands for situation, behavior, impact. Let's watch Hilary provide feedback to Jeff using this model. - [Hilary] Hi Jeff, is this a good time for feedback? - [Jeff] Sure. - [Hilary] So last week you submitted your sales forecasts on Thursday afternoon. As you know, the deadline for this was Wednesday. The operations team had to work overtime to adjust to the projections that you provided. In the future, if you can't meet our deadline, could you please let me know in advance? - [Jeff] Yes, and thank you for this feedback.
I'll try not to let this happen again. But if it does, I'll let you know. - [Hilary] Great, thanks. - Let's debrief what you just watched. First, notice that Hilary asked permission to have this discussion. It's important to make sure that the timing is good for both parties before providing constructive feedback. When the message is positive, this isn't as important. Second, Hilary uses SBI as a simple outline for sharing the feedback. Hilary started the discussion by providing the context for the situation they were discussing.
Then, she very specifically addresses the behavior she needs to provide feedback about, in this case, the late submission of an important deliverable. Hilary ends with the impact this has on others in the organization. Third, Hilary followed this specific feedback with the desired future behavior so that Jeff is clear about what to do the next time. Fourth, this feedback is timely. Jeff is receiving this information just a few days after this occurred and not months later at his performance review meeting.
Last, notice the short discussion is only focused on the one piece of feedback Hilary needed to provide Jeff in that moment. Hilary didn't start off praising Jeff's work on the actual report. Focusing on one topic minimizes the chances that your feedback will be misunderstood or diluted. If you're regularly providing feedback to the members of your team, these conversations should be brief and focused on one issue at a time as needed. If you wait until you have multiple issues to discuss, the conversation can take a much different tone.
Notice that Jeff doesn't get defensive or make excuses for why the work is late. There can be lots of legitimate reasons for this, but that doesn't change the fact that the deliverable came after the deadline. When you're on the receiving end of critical feedback, it's best to accept it, rather than explain yourself, unless you've been specifically been asked for an explanation. Let's recap. When it comes to giving feedback, one, make sure it's a good time. Two, use the SBI framework.
Three, articulate the behavior you expect to see in the future. Four, provide feedback in timely manner. And five, focus only on the topic, the behavior that you would like to address. Giving feedback can be uncomfortable which is why we often avoid it. But the more you give it, the more natural it'll become. SBI works for positive feedback as well, so that's a good place to start practicing.
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