How Am I Doing from photofunia (cropped)

People Really Want To Know What You Think!

Does everyone on your team know how well they’re doing, in your eyes?
If you’re not sure, there’s a good chance you’re operating in a “feedback vacuum” and it’s costing you.

When I start working with my leadership clients, they rarely have a solid understanding of what their own manager sees as their strengths and development areas.  They’ve typically adapted to not really knowing where they stand.

Many of us are working in a “feedback vacuum.”   Is your team, too?

In a “feedback vacuum,” we’re left to make assumptions about how we’re doing.  These assumptions can run the gamut from “I guess I’m doing fine since I haven’t heard otherwise” to “I guess I need to do something differently to get some acknowledgement around here.”

Either way, there’s valuable information missing from the situation that could be used to inspire improved performance.

Providing timely and clear feedback:
  • Motivates and inspires people to continue to push to optimize their performance
  • Gives them the information they need to make any necessary changes
  • Keeps them from spending time and energy guessing how they’re doing
So what can you do about the “feedback vacuum” today?
1. SEE THE NEED

Imagine everyone who reports to you (and everyone else in your life, for that matter) wearing a button with the question “How am I doing?” on it.

Don’t leave them hanging!

2. LOOK FOR THE GOOD

It’s natural for us to notice the things that are NOT working.

Of course there’s a place for constructive feedback.  But what people hunger for most is hearing about what they’re doing well. Pointing out what IS working reinforces those actions, and increases the likelihood they’ll continue.

3. USE THE “SBI-QUESTION” FEEDBACK TOOL

Try this simple, proven feedback tool to give either positive or constructive feedback…

“Situation – Behaviour – Impact” feedback followed by a Question can launch a powerful conversation about the performance in question.

Here’s an example of how to use the Tool:

Situation: “Ellen, when we were at the executive meeting earlier today…”

Behaviour: “I noticed that you were bringing up problem after problem without suggestions or ideas.”

Impact: “The executive team expressed concern that you don’t appear to be doing your best to make this new initiative successful.”

Question: “What are your thoughts on this, Ellen?”

You’re providing the feedback in the form of facts, as you see them.  And then asking a question to launch a conversation to understand the other person’s point of view and ultimately help that person create a plan to move forward positively. 

As part of the conversation, you may want to consider if you’ve ever set clear expectations about what’s needed.  If not, it’s important to own that.

The SBI tool can also be used for positive feedback.  For example:

Situation: “Ellen, in the meeting today, you presented a number of solutions to the challenges around the new initiative.”

Behaviour: “You inspired us to stay focused on finding a way to make this initiative work.”

Impact: “People clearly want to engage with you and support this work.”

Question: “What did you notice about the meeting?”

 4. AND IF YOU’RE CONCERNED THEY MAY REACT NEGATIVELY TO THE FEEDBACK…

Sometimes we avoid talking about the most important issues because we’re concerned that talking about them will make the situation worse.

If you’re dealing with a more challenging feedback situation, it can be helpful to follow a proven process to increase your chances of success.  I’ll share my tips on having successful Breakthrough Conversations in my next article (or if you want the info now, email me, and I’d be happy to share it.)

Who on your team or in your life would benefit from some feedback from you today?

Try out the “SBI-Question” tool and let me know how it goes!

 

* The SBI tool was developed by the Center for Creative Leadership