There’s a saying that ‘the culture of an organisation is shaped by the worst behaviour the leader is willing to tolerate‘
And let’s face it, most leaders would rather clean the bathroom than give constructive feedback.
However, feedback, when delivered well, builds culture and performance within your team. People need to know how they’re doing and feedback gives people direction on the behaviours and level of performance you expect.
There are two reasons for giving feedback and only two:
- To reinforce behaviour; to ensure people keep doing what they are doing.
- To improve or shift performance; make a change or do something differently.
It’s much easier to give affirming or positive feedback to reinforce behaviour. But here’s a tip, remember to be specific. Giving generalised praise, such as ‘You did a good job’ is very different to ‘your report was timely and well thought out. Well done.’
Giving constructive feedback on helping to correct or shift performance is much more difficult. One of the concerns that leaders have is how people will react when they receive it. What happens if they become angry or defensive? So, we tend to shy away and blame people for not doing what we expect them to do.
So, here are some tips. Right from the beginning, set the scene that they can expect to receive feedback from you. Give them direction on what they need to do and tell them “I will be here to give you feedback on how you are going. I will tell you what you are doing well and talk to you about the things you need to work on.”
Then, get their permission. Ask them, “is that OK with you?” This ensures that people are on board and understand your role as leader. It gives you the leader, the reassurance to go ahead and give the feedback.
Remember: ‘Be bold, be brilliant and be gone‘.
Frequent, open feedback which is timely and genuine, promotes understanding and better performance. Mastering this skill is key to motivating and driving the performance of your team.