Hello current and future Leaders,

Following on from our last nugget about Performance Reviews – today let’s discuss Feedback. What is feedback, why is it important and best practice for giving feedback.

So, what is it? A simple definition is “Feedback is factual information about what someone said or did, intended to change or reinforce behaviour.” This definition already implies feedback can be positive and negative, the intention with which feedback is given matters and it needs to be based on facts.

Why bother giving feedback? When asking managers to provide a quote about feedback you often hear “Feedback is a gift!”. This is very true, and yet we find people in the workplace who rarely receive feedback and possibly only when they have done something wrong.

A recent Gallup survey (March 2021) showed that when employees “strongly agree” they “received frequent and meaningful feedback in the past week”, they are almost four times more likely than other employees to be engaged.

Feedback is an opportunity to motivate – when you are not expressing thanks for something well done, you are missing an opportunity to inspire positive feeling and commitment. Positive and constructive feedback is essential to develop performance – try not to view feedback as criticism but rather as support to deal with under-performance in a constructive way.

An easy to remember and easy to apply feedback model is the SBI™ Feedback Model developed by the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL). SBI™ stands for Situation | Behaviour | Impact – here is how it works:

o Prepare your feedback meeting – make sure you have concrete examples with data and facts, reflect on your intention, plan an appropriate amount of time

In the meeting

o SITUATION – Describe the situation that you are referring to, be clear and specific

o BEHAVIOUR – Outline the precise behaviour which you have observed; it is important not to relay hearsay

o IMPACT – Highlight the impact of the behaviour on you, the team, or others in the organisation

When appropriate you can extend the SBI™ model to an SBI-BI*) by including

o ALTERNATIVE BEHAVIOUR – Engage and discuss an alternative behaviour which may have been better

o ALTERNATIVE IMPACT – Explore the different impact the new behaviour could have

*) (BI = Behaviour – Impact)

Remember, feedback is most valuable when it is specific and concrete, balanced, focused on behaviour that is possible to change, and non-judgmental.

It is not just important to be good at giving feedback – receiving feedback can be a challenge as well. A few tips to bear in mind when receiving feedback from your peers, manager or team members:

o Listen without interruption

o Avoid being defensive

o Politely question to clarify, if necessary, ask for examples

o Summarize the feedback to make sure that you have correctly understood

o Thank the person for their feedback and let them know you will take their input on board

As an exercise I encourage you to think of a situation where you would like to provide feedback – positive or constructive. Take a few minutes and prepare a feedback session with the above model in mind. And then – DO IT!

Find my “Management Gold – Nuggets” useful? Then let me know and share with others.

If you find this inspiring and you would like to explore further, I am delighted to meet with you for a 30-minute-free-of-charge-info-session.

Hello current and future Leaders, First and foremost: I wish you a HAPPY, HEALTHY AND SUCCESSFUL NEW YEAR in 2022!

And to start the year I would like to talk about Performance Reviews as some or most of you will still be going through an annual performance review cycle. You may be using a system which you do not find very conducive to conducting effective performance reviews but remember it is never the what, it is always the how. In other words: No matter which tool, system or structure you have to use, it is the how you use it that counts.

To that end I would like to impress on you the three main points to consider when conducting performance reviews:

1 Look forward

As a team, department, company, society we want to move forward, we are planning for the future. So, what is the point of spending the bulk of a performance review meeting looking backwards and rehashing deficits from the past year? By no means should such deficits remain unaddressed, however, spending valuable time arguing about ratings is not helpful. Make performance reviews a forward-looking exercise and spend time discussing how the employee’s skillset could be best used or how it could be improved to achieve future goals.

2 No surprises

None of the feedback you are giving any of your team members should be a surprise for them as you have addressed the good and bad throughout the year. In a separate nugget I will write about feedback. One of the main points about feedback is that it should be timely, i.e. provided closely after the event. It is best practice to have feedback and one-on-one sessions on a regular basis – use them to take any surprise elements out of a once-a-year-meeting.

3 Talk less

My final point is that you as the reviewer should be doing less than 30% of the talking. Get into the habit of asking exploratory questions, like “Which of the departmental goals do you see yourself contributing to in the coming year?” and “Why?” followed by “What would be helpful for you to learn or experience to be more effective?” Learning and change are most likely to occur when an individual finds out for themselves what they need to work on.

Make the most of your company’s internal guidelines - whether or not you are bound by a tariff structure of another company-wide review system. There is always room for turning performance reviews into a positive, developmental exercise - after all isn’t this what they are for?

If you’d like further input or to talk through a potentially challenging situation reach out for support.

Find my “Management Gold – Nuggets” useful? Then let me know and share with others.

If you find this inspiring and you would like to explore further, I am delighted to meet with you for a 30-minute-free-of-charge-info-session.

Hello current and future Leaders, In my previous nugget on judging you will have seen the remark “EMPATHY IS IMPORTANT!” Empathy is a construct which is fundamental to leadership. It is the ability to share someone else’s feelings or experiences by imagining what it would be like to be in that person’s situation. Beware: As you move up the career ladder your capacity for empathy could decrease. Dacher Keltner, an author and social psychologist at University of California, Berkeley, has conducted empirical studies showing this inverse relationship. People who have power suffer deficits in empathy, the ability to read emotions, and the ability to adapt their behaviour to others. One simple explanation as to why this might happen is the following: As you are achieving certain career goals you may feel less the need for approval and support of others. You may be under constant pressure, high workload, tight deadlines, high expectations from those who promoted you. Hence, your focus shifts to challenges that you perceive as being more important, and whilst this is human, it is also dangerous. Especially in today’s workplace leaders need to be more people-focused and less task-focused – task-oriented skills like forecasting, controlling, delivering results are important, however, understanding, caring for and developing others are at least as important. When people feel their boss knows them, they feel cared for and heard. Their trust increases; their creativity increases. Most importantly, they feel safe. After all, as a leader you lead others to better performance and ultimately to success. There is good news: As a human, you have empathy. You may need to choose to turn it back on again, and here is how you can start: · Practice observing what is going on around you with complete focus. Focusing completely will enable you to detect your emotional response to what you observe. · Turn up your level of curiousity when you interact with others. · Listen attentively – and while listening watch for emotions others exhibit through posture, tone of voice and facial expressions. This will help you pick up what they are feeling. There are many other exercises you can try but focusing on these three things and practicing daily will be a good start. Daily practice will increase that empathy muscle in you.

Find my “Management Gold – Nuggets” useful? Then let me know and share with others.

If you find this inspiring and you would like to explore further, I am delighted to meet with you for a 30-minute-free-of-charge-info-session.