A huge part of your job as a leader is to help people grow and succeed.
Delivering feedback — both positive and negative — is a critical part of employee growth, and sharing feedback in a way the resonates requires a good deal of self-awareness and skill.
For many people, the idea of feedback at the office might conjure memories of tedious annual performance reviews. Remember those time-consuming evaluations that probably didn’t result in much? They still exist, and their utility remains mixed.
Some of the lucky ones out there (read: the folks who’ve worked for great leaders) might have had outstanding experiences with feedback that resulted in progress and helped you grow.
When done right, feedback is at the foundation of every successful team.
I’m going to give you specific tips on providing effective positive and (especially) negative feedback. But let’s stay at the 10,000-foot level for a bit, because here’s the thing that so often gets missed in discussions about feedback: you have to understand your motives.
Why? Because unless you’re dialed into that, there’s a lot of room for misunderstanding. For feedback to have the desired outcome, people have to believe you care. It has to be true caring and cannot be faked.
Think about your team, the people you manage. You’ve got to examine whether you’re caring enough about the people you lead. A few things you should probe: Do I understand the issues of the people who work for me? Do I understand their problems — work and personal? If not, what is distracting me from actually paying attention?
Here’s an example that will show you how motive plays into this: often, we talk about constructive feedback, which is basically code for feedback that is going to include criticism. But if the criticism is actually constructive, the person on the receiving will know that you’re doing it to help them. They don’t feel like your motive is to make them feel bad, and when they feel like you care, it gives them permission to be in learning mode.
So please, check your motives.
Feedback also shouldn’t be a downstream phenomenon. The C-suite and any leaders at the top of an organization need to use the same mechanisms to share feedback with each other. They also need to feel like their peers care. Trust and honesty are essential for any real type of feedback. In fact, what happens on top sets the tone for the entire organization — whether it’s small or large.
Once you’ve explored the fundamentals, you can start talking tactics.
Reinforce Your Team, Uplift the World
Let’s start with the good stuff.
Positive feedback is essential because it makes the recipients feel good — it affirms them — which also reinforces them. There’s a lot of brain research to support this.
Make people feel good, and whatever you told them you liked, they’ll do it again and again. It’s a motivator.
Your job as a leader is to regularly find out about what people are doing well so that …read more
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