How often do you give feedback to your team and individual team members? What type of feedback do you give them? If and when you give feedback, are they mostly informal or formal? Think back to last week and write down who you gave feedback to and whether it was positive or negative feedback. Giving constructive and actionable feedback can make a difference in improving performance.
Perhaps for many, the word feedback conjures up images of unpleasant experiences of one’s immediate superior dishing out negative feedback or criticisms about one’s performance. It does not have to be this way. If your superior is not very good at giving you feedback, break the chain or vicious cycle of perpetuating the negatives and demoralizing your own team and team members.
Be the team leader that fosters development. Break the cycle. Be intentional. Be the guiding light that sparks positive energy and action in your team. Everyday is a fresh opportunity to turn yourself and your team around, to refocus on performance and behaviors that can be improved through helpful feedback.
Some tips on providing constructive and actionable feedback involve changes in your approach such as the following:
- Focus on the behavior and not the person
- Be specific and not general: STAR is useful here – Situation, Task, Action, Result
- Encourage change instead of attacking or blaming
- Put your relationship with your team and team members first instead of yourself
- Describe the behavior as concretely as possible
- Get the team’s/team members’ view of how the behavior affects others positively or negatively, who are affected and what are the implications on performance quality and cost, as well as relationships
- Give your own view of how the behavior affects others and the team’s performance
- Get the team’s/team member’s inputs on what needs to change and how in order to achieve better results
- Give your onw inputs including a description of the desired behavior and performance levels and outcomes
- Agree on the next steps, who will do what by when, what support might be needed, and follow-up, follow-up, follow-up
Knowledge without application is a waste. It’s time to put these tips and steps into action this coming week. Identify team members who have performance issues or dysfunctional behaviors that hurt their or their team’s ability to deliver their best. Bullet point your specific observations and key messages, and schedule a feedback meeting with each individual. Better do it sooner than later. Start a new cycle, a virtuous cycle of giving constructive and actionable feedback.