Effective Feedback

THINK

Delivering Effective Feedback

Perhaps the most powerful single tool people have for achieving goals together is feedback. Yet many managers treat it as an afterthought — something to be dealt with bi-annually during performance reviews, or through brief, tactical comments on the project at hand. This is a major loss; the way you win in the complexity of the current market environment is learning and unleashing potential faster than your competitors. Both learning and unleashing potential requires using problems and confusion as fuel for greater sync and improvement, and the way you do this is through consistent, effective feedback.

In the 5-minute audio below, Jeff describes the steps required for delivering good feedback; the kind of feedback that helps turn confusion into improved alignment and learning.

Steps for good feedback:

  1. Recognizing your own confusion (reality v expectations)

  2. Being explicit about the standard you’re holding for what good looks like (eg. on-time delivery no matter what)

  3. Describing your own experience (eg. project wasn’t delivered on time, you were surprised)

  4. Understand what they experienced (eg. late delivery, but not a big deal, was prioritizing other things)

  5. Look at the gap between agreed on standard and what happened

  6. Figure out together why it happened


Key agreement to run this process well:

  1. Orientation toward getting in sync on what’s true (versus looking for blame)

  2. Agreement on both sides that you’re seeking excellence


Jeff on Feedback (5 minute video)


REFLECT
  • Think about all of the people you work with. How often do their output and behavior match your expectations? How often do they NOT match your expectations (both positively and negatively)?

  • When was the last time you gave someone you work with feedback around that gap?

    • How often do you do this?

    • Is it only something you do formally (e.g. in reviews)? Is it something you do informally?

  • Thinking back to a few recent times you delivered feedback — what did you do?

  • Did you see the behavior change you expected / hoped for following your feedback?

  • How does your way of delivering feedback compare to the process Jeff describes in the recording linked above?


TRY
  • Explicitly commit to weekly or bi-weekly 1:1s with your key reports (if you haven’t already). If you’re not a manager, you can still use the same structure to sync with someone you work with if you’re working toward a shared goal.
  • Use the following four 1:1s to practice delivering feedback in the way described above:

    • Recognizing your own confusion (reality v expectations)

    • Being explicit about what good looks like (on-time delivery no matter what)

    • Describing your own experience (eg. project wasn’t delivered on time, you were surprised)

    • Understand what they experienced (eg. late delivery, but not a big deal)

    • Look at the gap between agreed on standard and what happened

    • Figure out together why it happened

  • Reflect on the experience — what if anything did you learn about yourself and your reports? Did you notice any shifts in behavior on your part or theirs?

Authored by:

Talentism