I’ve noticed a couple of things. One is, having good will towards the person you are giving feedback to is essential. If there is not a positive relationship, all is lost. Secondly, leaders giving feedback when they are frustrated or angry just doesn’t work. The third thing is to describe the behavior simply. Here’s an example of a manager who habitually talks loudly when she is talking with her staff. As her boss, you have noticed this, and you can see her team isn’t engaged with her. She delivers, and is thoughtful and innovative and yet, you can see her relationship with her team could be more effective.So you might say to her ‘Are you aware your voice is quite loud when you are talking with your team?’ This is the traditional feedback.
What I am saying here is that feedback includes both a brief description – the facts – of the behaviour AND how the behaviour impacts you, others, or the task in hand. So if you are interested to coach people you work with, giving feedback is only part of the story.When giving feedback, simple is best. When people are stressed and a bit anxious, their ability to hear, and listen, reduces.When giving feedback, I encourage you to keep your message simple, and describe the facts.
- Describe the behaviour. Are you aware your voice is loud when you are talking to staff?
- The impact is
staff think you sound so certain they don’t want to engage with you
- Encourage: I want you to have great team engagement. I could suggest two things to you if you are interested. One is to lower the volume of your voice when you are talking with your team. The other might be to ask, what do you guys think? Let’s hear from each of you.
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On being defensive
- Walking away, escaping, going silent
- Justifying your position
- Making excuses
- Verbally attacking the other person/people, being aggressive
- Acquiescing, giving up
- Condemning, being judgmental or critical
- Using derision, sarcasm, cynicism
- Denial and delusion
Let me ask you – what is your most likely defensive behaviour when you are under pressure?Essentially the person being defensive is keeping their real thoughts and feelings to themselves. Our job as leaders and developers of others is not to understand this behaviour, or to work out why the person is reacting this way. Our role as leaders is to be a mirror to the person – to identify what you see happening, and to outline the affect of the behaviour on you, others or the task in hand. Encouraging good working relationships means how people work together is as important as what is being done.
- Taking responsibility
- Relating to vision and goals
- Being accountable
- Taking action
- Problem solving, issue resolution
- Being willing to admit when you are wrong
- e.g. I was wrong, my part in it was……
- Being willing to make mistakes and correct them
- Being helpful and collaborative