I have to admit, that despite the fact that I teach about it, I am not often comfortable offering or receiving feedback.
When delivering it, I wonder if my direct and factual approach will hurt someone’s feelings, or maybe they won’t like me anymore. I also wonder if my feedback is my opinion or assumption when it ought to be based in fact and behavior. I can rehearse and rehearse and then confuse myself with one more rehearsal.
When I can get out of my head and into my heart, I can offer simple, straightforward and sincere feedback. In the present moment. No rehearsal needed. Simply connecting with the other person in the spirit of improvement and neutrally offering my observation of factual behavior. In my head I can sting or hide. In my heart, I am here and nowhere else and ready to offer.
For those of us who may want to avoid feedback from time to time, here are 7 steps that may increase expertise:
- Consider timing – don’t wait too long and don’t jump the gun. Give yourself enough space (especially if your emotions are engaged) to consider the behavior as it relates to expectations and outcomes. However, too much space and the feedback loses its purpose.
- Focus on behavior rather than opinion – laser in on the one (no more than two) behavior that, if modified, could most shift performance.
- Understand your emotions – We are humans and made up of all kinds of overt and covert emotions. Be aware when you are triggered or judgmental. Get curious with yourself so that you can be clear for the other person.
- Get to the point – Don’t dance around the issue. Factual and neutral are the preferred ways of being.
- Impact – make sure that the person you are offering feedback to understands the impact. We often have a blind eye to the ripples our behaviors can cause. Understanding the impact creates a desire to change.
- Make sure the person agrees to an action – clarify the request and the action steps and then handshake on the agreement.
- Laser Focus not Razor Focus – Laser in on the issue and bring a spotlight to the behavior, impact and change. Do not use the razor of judgment, assumptions, and opinions to cut to the point.
These seven steps are a great jumpstart to aligning head and heart. That alignment is a hallmark of Emotionally Intelligent Leadership. With great feedback you create a safe environment for people to learn and course correct and empowerment for achieving goals and good outcomes.
Inspired leaders give sincere feedback in the moment. If you’re wondering why your team is not as connected as you’d like, get my F-R-E-E mini audio workshop “The 5 REAL Reasons Your Team is Not Engaged (and it’s not what you think).” To receive your free copy CLICK HERE.