Part of our job as leaders is to give feedback, and most of the people I meet don’t receive nor give as much feedback as they want. The feedback they give and/or receive is not of the quality they want.
I believe that one of the problems is that we don’t distinguish between ”strokes” and “feedback” – and we don’t know HOW to give and receive feedback effectively.
Here are a couple of points to improve the feedback culture in your team:
- Know the difference between strokes and feedback – they are both important!
- Take assessments out of feedback - keep feedback factual and give it as close to the action as possible
- Demand feedback yourself
It is NOT feedback.
Feedback is a reaction or response to a behavior or an action. The receiver chooses how to use the feedback.
Example: You hire a trainer to improve your driving on icy roads. You go to a track and your car slides in the first left turn and goes off the tarmac.
- Not useful. The trainer says: “No, no Frode, that was not good, I saw you panic there - you have to keep the back of the car from sliding”.
- Useful: The Trainer says: “When you came into the curve you kept turning the steering wheel to the left. This caused the car’s back wheels to slide out. I suggest that you turn the wheel to the right (against the turn) if you notice that the car is slipping’.
Why is this more useful?
- There were no assessments
No need to defend yourself: “No, I wasn’t panicking!”
- The feedback was based on observation only and not interpretations
“kept turning the steering wheel” vs. “saw you panic”
- Clear description of the effect of what you did
“…the car’s back wheels slid…”
- Clear suggestion
Here’s the good news:
If you start giving more feedback and train – which means asking the receiver how your feedback was (what could be improved) - then you get two for one:
You quickly get better at giving feedback AND you create a feedback culture in your team.
Both are good.