Giving Feedback to Develop Your Team

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
Simple steps that you can use include:

  • 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.

What is You Leadership Point of View?

Do you know what your leadership point of view is, and can you articulate and share it with the people you work with in ways that help bring out their best?

The Leadership Point of View Process (LPoV) was developed by Ken Blanchard and Madeleine Blanchard after reading Noel Tichy’s book, The Leadership Engine. The LPoV is your credo and tool for communicating with others what they need to know about you as a leader, and how they can work effectively with you.

To find your LPoV, Ken and Madeleine Blanchard suggest that you start by asking yourself these questions. Write down your answers and reflect on them. Remember, the LPoV is a a self-discovery process. It takes time. For some, it may even last a lifetime.

* Who are the leaders who are inspiring to you?
* What qualities do they have? What did they do that you found inspiring?
* Can you do these things? Do you possess these qualities? If not, can you develop them? If not, what will you do about it?
* What do you expect of yourself and others?
* What can others expect of you?
* How will you share this information with others?

You may use the process on your own or you may work with your coach. Leadership is a journey and leadership coaching can contribute to your development.

You can read more about the LPoV leadership coaching process in the article “Coaching Tools for the Leadership Journey” by Ken Blanchard, Madeleine Homan Blanchard, and Linda Miller

Relationship Mapping Tool, A Coaching Tool for the Leadership Journey

Most of us begin our careers as technical or functional specialists who are individual contributors. When we get promoted to a team leader or supervisory role, and then later on to a managerial and executive role, we must transition from specialists who are individual contributors to leaders who contribute primarily through the work of others. The higher we move up the organization, the greater our dependence on the help and goodwill of others to get work done and accomplish organizational goals.

The leap from specialist to leadership can be a tough challenge for many as it requires learning how to get things done through others. Skills in planning, organizing, coordinating, controlling, as well as communication skills, interpersonal skills, motivating skills, networking skills, to name a few, become more critical to success than the technical or functional skills through which we built our earlier success.

Leadership is a journey and leadership coaching can help the budding and perhaps struggling new leader or leader in a new role. One leadership coaching tool is Relationship Mapping developed by Scott Blanchard and Madeleine Homan discussed in the article “Coaching Tools for the Leadership Journey” by Ken Blanchard, Madeleine Homan Blanchard, and Linda Miller. The Relationship Mapping Tool and process involves these five steps:

1. Identify your key goals and milestones

Define clearly what must be accomplished and how these will be measured.

2. Create a relationship map for each goal

For each goal, identify the key persons/stakeholders who will be affected by efforts to achieve the goal and achieving the goal.

3. Analyze the key persons/stakeholders in your relationship map

Answer these questions for each key person/stakeholder:

* What are their main goals and objectives?
* How will it serve them for me to succeed–or fail?
* What is needed from them?
* How can they help–or hurt–the project?
* What is the person’s thinking style?
What will be needed to most effectively communicate with and influence him or her?
* What attitudes does the person have about me?
Is there respect, credibility and trust?
* How do I feel about the person?
Is there any judgment or bad history to complicate things?

4. Identify who are more/most important to the success of the goal or project

5. Create an action plan for each critical stakeholder

Create a mini action plan for deepening you relationship with each critical stakeholder. Actions can include going to the person and asking for advice, calling or emailing the person to get an opinion on something, spending more time with them to get to know them better, getting their inputs about the goal or project over or coffee or lunch, and other interactions that can help deepen the relationship.

Pay attention to how they see things, understand their point of view, what they focus on, what is their approach, and so on.

In another post, we will look at a similar tool focusing on stakeholder analysis for communications planning.