Some leaders are uncomfortable providing feedback to their team members. Follow this feedback model to make giving feedback easier.
If we want people to improve, we have to give them feedback. Giving feedback can be really difficult because we feel like we might hurt someone’s feelings. We tend to shy away from uncomfortable conversations. We don’t want to tell somebody who we 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. I’d like to offer an example of a feedback model that can remove the emotion from these conversations and help people focus on improving performance versus getting defensive. 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. Their head may not be in it, they may have come out of a tough meeting, or they might be in a rush to go to their next meeting. Making sure they’re ready to receive feedback is critical. Don’t continue until you know that they’re open to receiving feedback.
The next step really matters a lot in terms of removing the emotion from the conversation. 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. 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.” 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.
Now 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. Then you thank them for being open to that feedback and for committing to the change. You can also say something like, “Let me know how I can help you make these changes if there are things I can be doing differently to support you.”
With this feedback model, you can remove emotion from the conversation and help your team member focus on a specific behavior and a specific change in a very non-threatening way. As you think about providing feedback to your people, I encourage you to follow this feedback model and see how it goes.
Want to learn more about building high performing teams? How about taking an entire course on it? Go directly to the course and start learning how to build high performing teams. The entire course is available at LinkedIn Learning. Enjoy!
Did you enjoy this post? If so, I highly encourage you to take about 30 seconds to become a regular subscriber to this blog. It’s free, fun, practical, and only a few emails a week (I promise!). SIGN UP HERE to get the thoughtLEADERS blog conveniently delivered right to your inbox!