How is your company at giving on-going, effective feedback? Are your business leaders giving it as much as their employees would like (which, according to research, is often!)? Or are they mostly avoiding it?
Feedback is one of those areas that many business leaders have a love-hate relationship with. When the feedback they need to give is good, feedback feels like a breeze. But when the feedback’s not-so-good? That’s a whole different story.
The truth, however, is that giving feedback often and effectively is so important for your company’s culture and business results. It’s the best way to tell employees where they stand,
what they’re doing well, and how they can improve and grow.
But first your business leaders need to feel comfortable giving it — and it all starts with their mindset.
Imagine delivering feedback to an underperforming employee and feeling anxious, angry, or unsure of what to say. The chances of communicating a clear message that doesn’t result in defensiveness is low.
But now imagine heading into that same conversation believing that feedback is an opportunity to build a strong, productive partnership through which both you and your employee are allowed to grow and improve. Your chances of delivering effective, impactful feedback just rose significantly.
So, how do we get into the right mindset to deliver effective feedback? Focus on these three things:
Composure is our ability to stay calm and collected. It is critical that we feel calm and collected when delivering feedback, because it’s the only state of mind from which we can communicate openly and receptively.
If you need to calm your composure before delivering feedback, try:
• breathing deeply into your belly (not your chest) and exhaling slowly
• engaging your senses by turning your attention away from any negative energy you may be feeling and placing it on what you see, hear, or smell
• getting your body in motion by talking a walk or other physical activity.
What we believe about a person will significantly impact how we interact with them. When
we choose to believe that there is potential or that a person is able to grow and develop, we have a much higher likelihood of communicating our feedback in a way that feels supportive, helpful, and receivable.
Here are a few beliefs to adopt that will help create an effective, productive feedback mindset:
• This employee has the potential for growth and development
• I believe feedback is a two-way conversation
• I believe feedback can build trust and respect
• I believe feedback can produce improved results
We want our feedback to count and prompt growth and development, which in turn, makes the feedback impactful. That’s why it’s important to focus your mind on the impact you want your feedback to have and set your intention to achieve that outcome.
To increase the chances for delivering feedback that truly makes an impact, make sure the feedback is:
• timely, given in real-time — during or as close to the observation of a behavior as possible
• clear, using specific examples of things you’ve seen
• relationship-building, delivered as a two-way conversation that builds trust and respect
By shifting your mindset about feedback away from fear and hesitation and toward the tremendous opportunity it provides to build strong relationships and promote growth, you’ll find more to love about delivering feedback of any kind.
Beth Racine joined CRN in 2013. As an Instructional Designer, Product Developer, and Facilitator, she takes effective, proven strategies and turns them into practical application. She enjoys working with people who are committed to growth and self-awareness.