Great Leaders look at feedback as a discussion not just a delivery!
Delivery means that you had something to say, and you went ahead and said it. It’s like delivering a package at someone’s doorstep.
You would never know if that person actually accepted that package, took it in, opened it and used what’s in it.
Discussion is a two-way process, where each individual is open to both speaking and listening to each other.
They ask questions to understand the context and content better, take the time for deliberation, give room for clarification,
and then come to a conclusion or decision about future actions.
Most feedback discussions tend to get emotional. And Leaders need to be ok with it.
After all we’re all humans, and it’s never easy to have someone point out your mistakes, shortcomings and vulnerabilities.
Leaders need to develop a high degree of emotional intelligence to be able to handle these discussions with grace and maturity.
Once Leaders learn the right skills and tools to handle such leadership communications more effectively, they realize that Feedback Discussions are something to look forward to and not something to resent and avoid.
Emotionally intelligent leaders proactively seek such open discussions, because it is in these moments of feedback that they find the opportunity to strengthen their connections with their people, build trust, and gain their respect and followership.
Below are a few tips on how you can manage your feedback discussions more effectively.
At Live Leadership, we use the word/mnemonic ‘TIME‘ to manage our feedback discussions.
T – Timing
I – Intention
M – Message
E – Environment
Timing, Intention, Message, and Environment – each of these is an important factor to consider when planning a feedback discussion.
Should you deliver the feedback immediately or should you wait it out? .. This is a common question for most Leaders.
So, here’s how you can decide –
If it is related to performance, the sooner the better. The more you delay, the more the work and results suffer.
So, it’s advisable to plan your feedback discussion soon.
If it is related to behaviour, you need to find a time when the person who is the receiver of the feedback is not already pre-occupied and would be open to listening to some constructive feedback.
So, you can either wait for such a time, or, as a Leader, you can create such a moment for your team member.
As a responsible Leader, your intention might be right, but the question is what is your intention exactly?
It always helps if, as a Leader, you are absolutely clear about your intention and can explain it in words;
because, in case the discussion gets heated, and the receiver gets too defensive,
it’s always a good idea to explain your real intention to the person.
That helps them know that you’re on their side and are only trying to help.
This could help them calm down and see things from your perspective.
Being a Leader, it is your responsibility to be unbiased, and look at things objectively.
Make sure that your feedback is not based on assumptions. If you heard something from others (single or multiple sources), it’s always best to clarify the WHAT, HOW and WHY from the receiver and listen to their perspective before making a judgement.
As a Leader, you need to listen to each member of your team with equal respect and curiosity.
Sometimes, it is in these stories is where you will find the gaps in your team that need to be fixed immediately.
When crafting the actual feedback message, make sure it is clear, specific, direct, and actionable.
You can make it even more productive by adding your suggestions on how that person can make changes, and what is something small and easy that they can start with.
Your suggestions as a Leader act as proof that you really want to see them grow.
Choosing the right environment is critical for your feedback discussion. Make sure you choose a quiet place that is free from distractions.
For example, if in office, you could choose your cabin or a meeting room.
If you are to have this discussion virtually, make sure that you create that environment of trust and emotional safety with your words.
And it’s always advisable to have your camera on when having these personal discussions.
There is a lot you can understand from each other’s body language, than you can understand from just the words and the tone.
When planning your next feedback discussion, use your ‘TIME’ well, to make the feedback more productive!