St Patrick’s Day has come and gone. I don’t know if you know but St Patrick’s Day is a public holiday in Ireland – it’s a great time to kick back, celebrate and have a few drinks. There was one particular time in my earlier days when I might have gone a little overboard with the festivities and showed up for work the next day looking a wee bit green… if you get my drift. As you can imagine I wasn’t in the most fit of states for a productive day at work. I was sent home and the following day received some feedback from my manager. As this experience is still freshly in my mind I thought I’d share my thoughts on giving feedback because, as Ken Blanchard said, ‘Feedback is the breakfast of champions!’
Feedback is essential for our growth and, as leaders, it’s a huge part of our role to provide feedback and guidance to our teams. There’s nothing worse than no feedback because, without it, it’s difficult to judge if we’re on the right track or not.
Part of the problem of giving feedback comes down to how the person will take it or, more importantly, how we think the person will take it. If we believe the feedback will crush the other person then this might prevent us from giving the feedback effectively; it might cause us to water down the message too much in order to protect the self-esteem of the person but confuse the message. Another issue can come down to the relationship you have with your staff. If there’s low trust the person might completely ignore the feedback and focus on your relationship and how you’re always “picking on” them – even if the feedback is relevant and expertly delivered!
So what are the important steps?
Firstly, you have to be prepared! Don’t wing it. Spend some time thinking through the outcome you want to achieve with the other person. At a minimum this should be clearly delivering the message AND maintaining the relationship.
Secondly, manage your own ‘state’ – where are you emotionally?
Next, deliver the message and invite the other person into the conversation. They may jump in with a response and no matter what they say, our role is to listen and understand. If they don’t respond ask them what their thoughts are about what you just shared and again, no matter what they say, our role is to listen and understand. Balance expectation setting with understanding and you’re likely to achieve the result you’re after.
Once the feedback conversation is over it’s important to build the person back up again and re-inspire them for the good work they do.
I hope you find this useful. Remember, preparation is key and remember there’s more to giving feedback than just having the conversation.
If you’d like to know more about how to achieve more in life or business, or if you’d like to explore how coaching can help you become a better leader (of others or yourself!), or even if you’re just generally curious about what professional coaching can offer you, please contact us at any time for a free consultation.
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