As a leader, how difficult do you find providing positive constructive feedback to your team members? How often do you give instant feedback, only to realize that your colleague did not take the discussion well? What if you had a simple construct that helped frame the discussion? How important to feedback is the approach?
Let’s explore these questions further. We have all heard about the “time for positive constructive feedback is immediately after the event”. However, is your team member or colleague in a position to even receive the feedback at that time? If congratulations are in order, is a simple “thank you” or “congratulations” appropriate?
3 Key Steps for Providing Constructive Positive Feedback
First, we need to define 3 key steps in providing feedback:
· Ask Permission
· Share Your Intentions
· Provide Specific Observations
The above model seems simple, but steps are often missed. These steps form the foundation for the corrective action that needs to follow.
The first step in the model is to Ask Permission. Positive constructive feedback must be given at an appropriate time. This differs from the instant feedback that a “thank you” or “congratulations” may entail. For these positive reinforcements, the closer to the event the feedback, the more receptive the person.
However, for a lengthy discussion, you must Ask Permission and schedule the proper time with the individual. Even just asking “is this the right time for us to discuss [the situation]”, helps position you as an ally for the discussion. One of your biggest reasons for asking permission, is that it shows a sign of respect as a person and positions yourself as that of an ally, or someone who wants to help.
Once you have permission and a scheduled time to talk, your next step is to Share Your Intention. Bring forward the topic of discussion. Position the discussion in a friendly helpful manner. Always approach your discussion as a partner who wants to see their colleague or team member succeed. The more difficult the topic, the harder you must work to find those “right words” for this type of position. It is this approach that will pay dividends in changing behavior for future situations.
Provide Specific Observations
The last step is to Provide Specific Observations of the situation. Be as specific as you can, drawing upon your observations or the reports of others from the situation. At this point, you need to be objective—not emotional. Give information to your team member. Share how the situation is impacting the business, your customers, colleagues, or others. After providing specific observations, yes, you can address any “feelings concerning the situation”. As a human being, it is often these “feelings” that require the most important reasons for a change.
While going through the feedback session, take the time to pause where appropriate. Allow the information to be processed by the individual. Give time for the new perspective to take hold.
As we can see, for positive constructive feedback to take root, we need to follow 3 key steps: 1) Ask Permission, 2) Share Your Intention, and 3) Provide Specific Observations. Note that we have not addressed the Corrective Action that naturally follows from a proper feedback discussion. Why? Simply put, Corrective Action is a form of coaching or supervising. This can take many forms. However, for the change to truly take hold, these first 3 steps in constructive feedback are necessary. It is here that the foundation is built for a proper change in perspective, attitude, or approach to a given situation.
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Garrett Grega is a FocalPoint Certified Executive Coach with FocalPoint Business Coaching in Branchburg, New Jersey, where he specializes in reconnecting executives, business owners, and managers with their business passions! Garrett has his own passion for transforming high potential employees into perennial all-stars. He has 20+ years helping international companies launch new products and processes. He previously spent 8 years launching LED lighting products for various lighting companies. His professional experience includes: strategic planning, business development, marketing, and product development. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. See more at www.garrettgrega.focalpointcoaching.com.