WHY DO WE SUCK AT FEEDBACK?

why do we suck at feedback?

feedback.jpg

The real question I want to ask is, why do we invest so heavily into Performance Management Systems rather than creating feedback skills as the fundamental component of the workplace culture?

Organisations continue to focus on the perfection of their performance system when the complex problem to solve is the practice of effective daily conversations which includes performance feedback.

Consequence: Employees leave managers, not companies

What I find, when talking with people, is that so many feedback opportunities are missed. Whether you’re walking down the corridor or sitting in a meeting together, it only takes a few minutes to provide the feedback which could be a game-changer for someone.

Maybe we think by saying “You did a good job” or writing an email advising a team member “I noticed you were late for a meeting” is good enough.

Nope – it’s not good enough.

It is essential when providing feedback, is that it is rich in data, it’s interactive, given with the honest intent to increase the performance of that person (or team), and that it makes an impact. And you know that it makes an impact because the communication flows and loops and there is action.

 Between the intent and the impact is where the skill comes into play.

 Research: It’s more than a hunch

Research tells us that people leave their manager, they don’t leave their company. Read that again.

In the 2015 Gallup Survey ‘The State of the American Manager’, 50% of people interviewed had left their company, at some stage in their career, to escape their manager.

People observe you. If you’re a manager/CEO/people leader, staff watch and listen to you, and have expectations of you in your role. They want you to action or at least feedback to them there is or isn’t progress.

And closer to home, Heads Up, the workplace educational unit at Beyond Blue in Australia, tells us that Psychological mental health is exacerbated when there is a lack of feedback about performance. And the cost associated with unhealthy workplaces which cause depression and anxiety costs Australian workplaces $10.8 Billion each year in lost productivity and compensation expenses.

Fact: Feedback motivates people

Motivating people might involve giving them a bonus but true motivation is the conversation that you have which acknowledges their effort, skill and the impact they’ve made. The effort and time you take to identify where they can improve, change or increase their performance is what motivates them.

Humans have an intrinsic motive to know that they’ve done a good job – so they’re expecting your recognition and praise – this is your opportunity to give feedback.

Martin Seligman, ‘father’ of Positive Psychology created the model, PERMA which identifies the elements that help people lead happy and fulfilling lives. Positive emotions (feeling good), Engagement (finding flow – immersion in what we do), Relationships (connections with people that you trust), Meaning (understand impact of life’s work), and Accomplishments (push us to thrive & flourish). Essentially, if your communication is constant and your feedback is welcomed, you’re helping people find true happiness in what they do while they work with you.

Martin Seligman’s PERMA model - understanding how to help people search for their happiness in their work assists you have rich conversations.

Martin Seligman’s PERMA model - understanding how to help people search for their happiness in their work assists you have rich conversations.

As Andy Grove, (former CEO & Co-founder of Intel) said, “a manager can damage morale, motivation and productivity of their teams based on their actions, or inaction. According to the Gallup’s study of managers, they found that the manager accounts for at least 70% of the variance in employee engagement.” The manager has such an important role, it rises above their technical expertise.

Ken Blanchard (PhD, management expert, author) coined the phrase, Feedback is the breakfast of Champions. And, Peter Drucker (author, management expert) told us that Culture eats Strategy for breakfast. What I say is, if you have a culture which is continually engaged in conversations including feedback – no matter which role a person is in, then you’ll make it to lunch!

 The Key Act: Follow up with Feedback

We spend days setting strategy, creating objectives for our people to achieve and identifying the key results to focus on and specific actions to complete (add up all those hours) – yet, what hours do we spend following up their progress?

I’m excited when I hear leaders tell me that the spend 5-10 minutes every week following up the people in their reach, providing feedback, seeking feedback and solving problems together. What disappoints me is when I hear staff tell me that they only receive feedback at their annual performance review (which they’ve written themselves).

Checking in on a daily, weekly or stretched out to monthly (depends on you and the individual) is a goal to set to seek and give feedback on performance.

“Hey, let’s talk about the presentation to the board. I’m confused about two items which you raised – can we discuss it now? There is no blaming here – it’s a good example of accountability of follow up feedback. This gives you the data and permission to keep the conversation alive and online.

 The Feedback Goal: Feedback makes an impact

Consider the best feedback you’ve ever received.

Who gave it to you? What did they say?

I recall being told I said “OK” numerous times (try 70!) during a 45-minute practice presentation. Wow, it hit me like a tonne of bricks – I was totally unaware that I was an OK factory! That was almost 30 years ago, and I still recall receiving this piece of feedback. It was delivered directly, it wasn’t sugar coated, and I was thankful for their honesty.

What feedback could you give, right now, to someone in your workplace?

What would you say?

How would you say it so that it lands well and creates a positive conversation?

I hope this stretches your holding zone. Moving from your place in the comfort zone to the stretch zone or better still, I hope it freaks you out! And, quite rightly, it will freak you out because most of us suck at it.

 The Workplace Goal: Let’s create Feedback opportunities

These opportunities present themselves every day, every hour and every minute.

It’s important that you observe people or at least hear them. You could be in a meeting, watching a staff member serve a customer or be in the middle of a conversation with a colleague.

If you see what you want to see or hear what you don’t want to hear – act as close to this moment as possible. Catch people doing the right thing and stop the wrong thing reoccurring.

I have a client whose leadership team shares and seeks feedback at each meeting. They commence with observed ‘strengths ‘in play and the impact they’ve witnessed and secondly, they (now) confidently share where they have ‘overdone the strength’ – with the outcome being a negative impact. This has been a game changer for this organisation. They have very quickly come a culture of feedback.

 The Workplace Skill: Giving & Receiving Feedback

It takes skill to say it with the right intent, in a timely manner, in the right way to make the other person feel alright about receiving the feedback.

Everyone needs to be on board to know that it’s their role to receive feedback. And, that they have permission, that they are accountable to give feedback too.

Here’s an example of feedback which I recently received:

Louise, thank-you (gratitude) for your prompt response with the information I requested (specific task identified) it enabled me to quickly complete an important task for a client (connecting my involvement) – my client was surprised with the promptness and it looks like we may be closer to working on the project together. I really appreciate your help. (Impact)

There are many ‘right ways’ to give feedback – models, methods and frameworks which work for different situations and personalities.

Don’t get stuck using one technique – it might not be the right feedback technique for every situation and individual.

The Four F model is a great Feedback model - one of many which I share with clients during workshops.

The Four F model is a great Feedback model - one of many which I share with clients during workshops.

 The Feedback Challenge: What will you do now?

If your intent is to positively improve the performance of your people, it’s clear what impact you’re seeking, then I can fill the ‘skill’ void – I will use suite of intelligence tools needed to seamlessly seal the intent.

If you are the CEO/the boss, then you can set yourself a key result of giving feedback every day.

How about you start today.

Your challenge is: to give feedback to three people and ask one person for feedback.

When receiving feedback, don’t accept, “you’re doing a good job”; rather respond with, “thanks, would you tell me specifically what I did today that you thought was good.”

Once you have your Feedback Skills embedded into your culture, and you no longer suck at it, you’ll question if you really need a Performance Management System or you’ll be surprised how more effective the process of appraisals becomes when Feedback is at the core.

Autumn special feedback skills.png

My seasonal focus is Feedback. If you value communication in your workplace, please read my White Paper on Feedback Skills, Click Here to request a copy.

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THE LANGUAGE OF LEADERSHIP CONTINUED!

THE LANGUAGE OF LEADERSHIP CONTINUTED

Image: Logicofenglish.com

Image: Logicofenglish.com

The Vowels

OK, so you thought we had finished with The Language of Leadership!

So did I, however, I realised that we had five remaining days of October and coincidentally, there are five important letters to highlight .. our vowels.

A.E.I.O.U.

When I learnt to speak Japanese, the first lesson was about our pronunciation of our vowels. Almost every word in Japanese ends in a vowel (similar to Italian), so it was extremely important (and still is) to quickly sound like a Japanese person, speaking Japanese!

Japanese For Busy People - 1982 - My first Japanese text book.

Japanese For Busy People - 1982 - My first Japanese text book.

As an Australian, this was a challenge as our twang and pronunciation is strangely different to other English speaking countries; which meant the vowels became more important than the consonants! The vowel was king.

Given the elevation of these five vowels, let’s review these five letters and the words we use to express our leadership.

Today we’ll focus on our first vowel in the queue. A.

Action, Attitude, Assumption and Affirmations were four A words offered at the beginning of the month. Then, other words were offered via social media, including:

·       Assertiveness, opposed to aggressiveness

·       Appreciation and the importance of apologizing

·       Adaptive and being agile.

A’ is a significant letter in our language of leadership. The question is, did we forget any other important ‘A’ words?

Tomorrow we’ll revisit and explore the vowel ‘E’.

Domo Arigato Gozaimasu (Thank you very much.)

THE LANGUAGE OF LEADERSHIP - Y

THE LANGUAGE OF LEADERSHIP - Y

Image: Red River College - CA

Image: Red River College - CA

Two three letter words is what I offer today.

Yes & You.

Saying “yes” to the challenges offered to you, saying “yes” to the opportunities to stretch you and saying “yes” when you feel vulnerable and uncomfortable is what you do to build your leadership.

I know if I had said “No” when I had said “Yes”, I wouldn’t have the leadership capability, wisdom and confidence which I had today.

In a world which is way too busy and the new ‘yes’, is a confident ‘no’, people are missing valuable experiences in life.

For women in particular, it’s saying “yes” to that leadership position in the company even though you believe you only have NINETY PERCENT  of the requirements!

Leadership isn’t about you. Whilst it’s important to focus on your leadership communication, ensuring you understand the accountability and responsibility of being a leader; leadership is about others.

As a leader, your practice of leadership is serving others. You have the goal of bringing people along with you, enabling and engaging people to feel that they belong and add value to the workplace.

You should be saying “Yes Louise”, you’re right!

THE LANGUAGE OF LEADERSHIP - X

THE LANGUAGE OF LEADERSHIP - X

Identifying one word in my leadership vernacular, beginning with X, is an absolute challenge.

There are words, yet, I can’t honestly say, I use them.

Image: The X Factor Facebook

Image: The X Factor Facebook

I thought of X-factor – some people do have the leadership X-factor which I admire – they have all the elements which we talk about being required as a leader.

Then there’s the word X-ray. Some leaders use their hindsight, have foresight and insight to cut through the BS of what’s going on in the workplace, culture and climate and make a call of what’s really going on! They start the conversation to make corrections or unearth the unspoken rules which don’t add value to the workplace.

Today, I am really keen to seek your input.

What’s your X word?

And while you’re thinking about how you express your leadership, think of your Y & Z contributions.

THE LANGUAGE OF LEADERSHIP - T

THE LANGUAGE OF LEADERSHIP - T

Image: Trust Restaurant, San Diego, CA USA

Image: Trust Restaurant, San Diego, CA USA

I’m sharing one word today.

It’s worthy of this prestige, it’s position is at the top of the Ts.

As we travel the leadership alphabet in my game, The Language of Leadership, we have landed at ‘the’ word, which I hear myself discuss and use every day.

The word is TRUST.

Trust is a beautiful word. The mere mention of the word releases hormones, creates a chemical reaction in our body which drops the shoulders, loosens the facial muscles and helps us smile.

However, our communication builds or busts trust.

The words chosen in conversations will prime the brain for trust, partnerships and mutual success. Judith Glaser wrote Conversational Intelligence (2013) which I devoured. With an understanding of how our brains operate we learn the importance to empathise with others, to discover more about others by being curious, asking questions and to be open to be influenced by others to get to trust.

When a leader trusts their team members, they’ve enabled them to do their work and the leader can focus elsewhere.

When parents and teachers trust their kids, they are enabling them to be accountable, growing with the experience.

When a neighbour trusts a neighbour, they can relax on holiday knowing that their home will be taken care of, with a constant eye on what’s occurring in their absence.

When you have trust in your relationships, you can be yourself, knowing that you’re accepted for what you do, say and believe in.

Leaders who trust their leaders, will go that extra mile to perform additional tasks or ensure that the quality of the product or service is beyond expectation.

I recently read that to be an agile leader, you ‘give trust to your team’ opposed to their need to earn trust. I reread this a few times and the reasoning was based on the need to be fast and that it was part of the process to potentially fail fast, learn and move forward.

This reminds me of the switch from saying “No” to my kids, to saying “Yes”, for the majority of the time. I gained their buy-in, their trust, to the requirements of the “Yes” almost every time. For example, I used to say, “Yes you can go for a swim after you tidy the toy room and finish eating your lunch!”

When we give trust to adults we are saying that you are an adult and I have your back.

Relationships + Respect = Trust.

In every relationship, there is a choice to respect each other. That respect shows up in fulfilling agreements. If I offer you my hand to shake and you respond with a firm shake while looking into my eyes, my brain will trust you.

As leaders, we can encourage people to have a go rather than earn the right. For over 20 years, I was encouraged to have a go, to trust myself because my managers and leaders trusted me. I never let them down because I knew that it was OK to do my best even if it wasn’t enough.

What about you? What does your trust look like?

Here’s a challenge for you: when you next meet someone new, rather than judge them, be curious and discover more about the person by asking lots of questions; let them do the talking. In doing this, your brain will release Oxytocin – the bonding chemical which wants you to reach out and trust them.

So, we’ve traveled from A - T. You can catch up on my previous blogs on my Thoughts page.

THE LANGUAGE OF LEADERSHIP - R

THE LANGUAGE OF LEADERSHIP - R

Image: B2b Interactive Marketing

Image: B2b Interactive Marketing


I have an affinity with leadership words beginning with R.

My mouth and fingers flow with R words, and the most frequently used are:

Respect,

Relationships, and

Response.

An equation I use in my leadership workshops include two of these three words:

Respect + Trust = Relationship

Respect in leadership is an agreement established about how people engage. This is based on spoken and unspoken rules. The more we adhere to these agreed rules the greater the opportunity a relationship will be established. Trust occurs with consistency of adherence to the rules

For example, you may be asked “I’d appreciate you respect my privacy” or when someone is using headphones at their desk, we know that they are working and don’t want to be interrupted.

Respect shows up in leading inclusive workplaces and it’s an ingredient of creating relationships. It’s not possible to have a relationship with someone, if you don’t respect each other.

Relationships are natural, we’re social beings which means, people need people. Yet, people are different and complex. So, it takes some effort to establish and maintain a relationship.

Response is always about a choice We always have a choice in how we respond to what is thrown in our direction. We can be a glass half empty or a glass half full type of person and of course you know the difference in these responses.

We can have a thought, an emotional reaction, a neural reaction and then we have a minuscule amount of time to choose how we respond. Your leadership can have a magnificent impact if you use this time wisely.

Leaders who respect others and respond thoughtfully will build effective relationships.

So, you can see that I am passionate about my R words. I’d love to hear yours.

THE LANGUAGE OF LEADERSHIP - P

THE LANGUAGE OF LEADERSHIP - P

AP Psychology

AP Psychology

During the acquisition of personality intelligence, which occurs when you meet new people, when you join a new group of people, you’ve no doubt determined that some people are focused solely on performance. Whereas some people are more concerned about people or maybe, you’ve identified a limited few who are solely passionate about process.

Personality Intelligence helps you navigate the complexity of people – discovering what drives them, what motivates them, and hopefully, why they do, what they do. When we have this data, we can then change our communication style to speak their language. This is what effective leaders do.

Being positive isn’t difficult. It’s no more challenging than be negative. There are so many people in life who we wish would be more positive! Yep, it’s a mental mind shift, and it is possible.

Who do you know who is always running late? Running late for dinner, running late for a meeting and running late on life?

Punctuality is important for many people and I like to view this from both sides. For those who are punctual, it’s great to start the meeting on time rather than wait for those who are late. I know, there are excuses/reasons, but unless you deal with those problems, they’ll keep reoccurring. If you are continually running late, you are probably annoying many people in your life. What does this say about respect and trust and your relationships?

I have worked with a few people who have changed the time of meetings e.g. ten past the hour, to allow people to move between meetings – genius!

Punctuality problems is a big clue that there is something amiss in a person’s life – a little bit of coaching can help these people.

Possibility is a door opener. Asking your team, “what’s the possibility of making this more effective?” “What are the possible options to consider?” Oh, it’s a great leadership word. Open minds, open thoughts and considerations.

Finally, presence. I talk about presence in The Female Factor program. Presence is about posture, confidence and influencing how you’re perceived. It’s an all encompassing ‘word’ to encourage you to have presence in your leadership.

I hope you’re enjoying this game, The Language of Leadership. It’s your turn now. What’s your contribution? Your P words in leadership.

THE LANGUAGE OF LEADERSHIP - O

THE LANGUAGE OF LEADERSHIP - O

Image: Preschool Plan It

Image: Preschool Plan It

Oh, I’m excited about today. It’s day of O and I have so many O words in my leadership vocabulary.

My top five O leadership words are:

Firstly, I enjoy observing people. I build a portfolio of client data to enable me to provide feedback to them - feedback with facts is far more useful than hearsay. Helping people with 1/ what they are doing well and 2/ how they can improve their leadership behaviours.

Then opportunity – we are always looking for opportunities to learn, grow, experiment and change. Life is exciting when we introduce new stuff. My personality is all about opportunity – it’s on my radar 100% of the time! In particular, I hear myself asking, “what opportunity is there to change the way you view that matter?”

Obstacles are what we face every day in our life of leadership. Viewing our challenges, problems and concerns as obstacles, enables us to take ownership and re-frame our mind, knowing that we can walk around them, climb them or remove them. It’s all in the mind how you view life and these two words, obstacles and ownership highlight the importance of our personal leadership – it’s what is inside us, what people don’t see that makes us stand out as leaders.

Openness is close to one of my key character strengths – I believe it’s important to tell it as it is, to be honest and not sugar coat facts. The quicker we can communication information, the quicker we can get everyone on board to enjoy it or fix it.

What’s in your language of leadership? Today I’d love to hear your O words.

You can continue reading my previous blogs - all A-N follow.

THE LANGUAGE OF LEADERSHIP - N

THE LANGUAGE OF LEADERSHIP - N

OK, so I set myself this challenge in October write about my exploration of the language of leadership and today I am stuck.

It’s the day of N in the alphabet. I am struggling at identifying more than one word which I use in leadership. I need your help!

My one word is an activity which I am passionate about. I know many people who don’t do it or don’t enjoy it or I believe, don’t do it very well!

I’m an advocate for networking. I even started up my own local networking group to encourage women to get together to discuss their opportunities and challenges. I recall when we first met and discovered we all suffered from procrastination!

We forget to tap into the people and groups we know or lack confidence to meet new groups of people. And it’s more than likely we’re all experiencing the same dilemmas in their own businesses and organisations!

Genuine networking is paying it forward and connecting people. It’s listening to people and hearing for opportunities to help them or introduce them to people who have the solution to their problem.

I’ve learnt the importance of keeping in contact with people and letting them know what I’m working on. In this busy world, it’s easy to forget who we know and how they can add value to our life and business.

It’s not what you know, or who you know, it’s who knows you.
— Bill Potter - Business Maverick NZ

There’s this great saying by a cool dude in NZ: It’s not what you know, or who you know … it’s who knows you. That’s networking!

I will throw in one more important N. When I mentor leaders who are progressing into a new role, I advise that the first task is to learn everyone’s name. Yep, it’s critical. There are some great tricks I use to do this quickly which I’m happy to help you out with!!!

When people hear their name used, they are more likely to listen and they’ll quickly respect you for remembering their name. It’s what you want to achieve quickly in your practice of leadership.

Today, in particular, I need your help with your leadership language - what’s your N word?

The image above is a network map from a fabulous book, Do More Great Work by Michael Bungay Stanier. We use this map on our Driving Your Life programs.

THE LANGUAGE OF LEADERSHIP - M

THE LANGUAGE OF LEADERSHIP - M

Louise knees up dress and really smiling.jpg

The Language of Leadership

Today we explore the letter - M. M stands for being a Mum - it’s a different style of leadership.

I became a Mum 14 years ago today. I had been a Step-Mum for a few years (and still am) and becoming a Mum presented a new type of leadership. We learnt very quickly that children watch and listen to everything you do and say. We started an experiment 14 years ago and choose specifically the words we would use and not use in front of our children e.g. not to swear, raise our voice or have a fight.

This experiment has paid off and our kids never swear, they are calm and know how to communicate. Parenting is a choice, and I chose to be a mother who was going to be a positive, confident and proactive role-model.

The key M words I identified are:

·       Movement 

·       Motivation 

·       Mastery

·       Mindfulness 

·       Memory

Image: N2Growth via Google

Image: N2Growth via Google

 

What about you? What M words show up for you when you think of, speak about and practise leadership?

So let me tell you about these words I use:

Movement – great leadership creates a movement, a cause is followed and people want to be part of it and what it stands for

Motivation – knowing what motivates you and your people is the key to leading relationships

Mastery –  learning, improving, changing, experimenting and attempting to master our leadership

Mindfulness – its what cuts through the complexity of personality, projects and processes – learn to breath and be in the moment

Memory – listen intently with no distraction and you should be able to remember what is said, who said it, what their name is and if and what action is required

I will enjoy being a Mum for the remainder of today. It’s life’s greatest gift and I need to ensure that I help my kids be the future leaders of tomorrow.

We’re almost half way through the leadership alphabet. You can catch up on A-L on my website – check out my Thoughts page.

And, I need your help to hear and learn your perspective as it helps me broaden my understanding of leadership.