Don’t Like Giving Feedback? Probably Because You Are Doing It Wrong.
One area of particular weakness in mid-level leaders and new supervisors that I have noticed in my 25 years of international leadership development training and coaching is their inability to give relevant, useful, and beneficial feedback.
In fact, giving feedback is one of the greatest fears of new leaders at all levels of an organization. Quite frankly, many new managers and supervisors dread giving feedback to staff. They are uncomfortable doing so and discouraged by the poor results they get.
Unfortunately, a significant amount of workplace feedback is not worthy of the employee’s agreement or buy-in. Why is that?
The Feedback Process Is Frustrating
Few things are more frustrating to a manager or supervisor than giving feedback to a team member that is unappreciated, unheeded, ignored, not followed, or not implemented. Of course, this also adds to the reluctance to provide more feedback. It’s a vicious cycle.
The root cause for these problems comes from the historical way feedback has been taught in thousands of classrooms to millions of managers. I am referring to the “bookend” approach to giving feedback, where so-called negative feedback is sandwiched between two layers of semi-positive and hopefully optimistic platitudes.
We know now that the bookend or sandwiched approach does not work. The opening “positive” comment of “Gerald, you are a really important contributor” is almost always ignored as the recipient waits for that awful word “but” to indicate here comes the so-called negative part.
Additionally, workplace feedback is often not well thought out and lacks specificity. The resultant feedback is poorly delivered by the manager and becomes demotivating to the team member.
Another issue is too many supervisors and leaders put on their managerial hats when giving feedback. Here’s the distinction:
Managers give directions and directives. Hence, their feedback conversations focus on problems or issues and are one-way, prescriptive, and result in low buy-in.
On the other hand, leaders engage in two-way dialogs with team members, ask questions, and solicit input. Hence their feedback discussions are engaging, solution-focused, and garner higher levels of commitment and buy-in.
The Art of Effective Feedback
To learn more about how to provide effective feedback, join my workshop, The Art of Effective Feedback, on January 21st at 2pm (Central USA time).
This 50-minute workshop ($75) will provide you with a proven, best-practice model for delivering both Fortifying Feedback (aka positive or reinforcing feedback) and Enhancement Feedback (aka developmental or so-called negative feedback).
Go to this The Art of Effective Feedback page to register for the workshop. Hurry, space is limited to only 100 attendees.