Most people I know cringe when they hear the words “Let me give you some feedback…” or even when they have to give feedback to a team member or employee. We dread emotionally charged conversations and brace ourselves for it. But, well delivered, valuable and genuine feedback can truly help people move towards the best version of themselves and reach top performance levels. The ROI on feedback then becomes enormous. So how do you get great at giving feedback? Here are my top 3 tips:
- Flex your feedback muscle daily — by embedding feedback into your everyday conversations (including eliciting feedback for yourself). The more you focus on finding opportunities to exchange feedback, the more you set the tone of your conversations and create a positive mindset that getting and giving input is a normal part of conducting business. So when you do have to have a more difficult conversation, people are listening to you in a different way and are less likely to take things personally.
- Prepare the tone and feel of your feedback conversation, not just the facts. Most “negative” conversations are not actually about the actual facts around a situation, but more about a conflict of feelings, interpretations and values. So think about arming yourself with a plan for creating emotional receptivity and a supporting environment rather than just knowing your facts. And if you have actively and consistently treated the person with respect, dignity and caring, (see # 1 above) then the “difficult” conversation is absorbed in a completely different context: the employee is more likely to view the discussion as a precious gift or investment made in their career goals and the results will align with BOTH your expectations.
- Listen in the way you want to be listened to. Do you want the other party to give you a fair, unbiased hearing? Well, you need to do the same. When you focus on ensuring that the other person is “being heard” and being supported, it is more likely that both of you will influence each other. Chances are that you will learn something new and see a more complete picture of the situation. The feedback session then becomes a genuine brainstorming for shared goals: improving career trajectories or business skills.
When you view feedback as an opportunity for true connection, as a precious gift of information to (and from) someone worthy, the whole nature of the conversation changes for the better and the ROI goes up!
What other strategies for feedback do you find effective?