Last week’s Thought for the Week, was about “A Curious Case of Self-Worth” and I hope you found that stimulating. You can find previous posts here in my blog.
I shared how I discovered that self-worth is the foundation stone to our well-being and, until we truly value ourselves and our worth, personal development can be a real challenge. This may seem really obvious, but not always.
Last week was the closing session of The Communication Code Group Coaching Programme and, when talking about their key takeaways, all participants said how they communicate is all based on how they see and value themselves. I always feel so privileged on these programmes to witness the participants’ transformation week-by-week.
And I always ask for feed back on my programmes because I have learned that this is always transformational.
I used to feel quite fearful when I knew someone was going to give me feedback!
Until I started to receive feedback in a way that was transformative, rather than detrimental. So, now I enjoy receiving and seeing feedback that is given with a positive intention to help others build confidence and grow.
Can you remember a time when you had some rubbish feedback that left you feeling totally demotivated and unappreciated?
“What is the shortest word in the English language that contains the letters: a b c d e f? Answer: feedback. Don’t forget that feedback is one of the essential elements of good communication.”
What’s your experience of feedback?
You may well be familiar with this Feedback Model that I’m about to share with you, or you may not. Either way, I hope that you will find it useful and please feel free to share this. Whilst this model is used in a Corporate situation, it will work for business owners and anywhere feedback is given.
To make it easier, I am going to first write an example of some feedback. Let’s assume that Jane is having a review with her line manager, John …
John: Hi Jane, come in, how are you today?
Jane: I’m well thanks John, how are you?
John: I’m well too thanks Jane. So, how are things going for you in your role?
Jane: OK, I think! You tell me!
John: I will. First though, I’m interested to hear how it’s going for you. What do you think is going well?
Jane: Well, I suppose I have met my KPI’s and I am enjoying the role.
John: Yes you have achieved your KPI’s. Well done Jane. I really like the way you have approached your tasks and have built good relationships with the team and key stakeholders. What else is going well for you?
Jane: Well, I guess I find it easier to say what I’m not doing well rather than what I am doing well! Hmmm, well I was really pleased to receive those thank you letters from clients, and I do get on well with people.
John: Yes, I felt quite proud when you received those letters and I have noticed how well you get on with people. Could I also tell you what I like about the way you work?
John: I really like your approach when dealing with complaints and the way you listen to people, ask questions about the issue, summarise to check your understanding and show them you have understood. I think this gets them on side and makes it easier to move forward to finding a solution.
Jane: Thank you!
John: What do you find more challenging in your role?
Jane: Well, complaints can be challenging and it’s not always easy to listen when they are shouting.
John: OK, so what I have noticed is that you do listen and calm them down. And I haven’t received any complaints on your work Jane.
Jane: That’s good to hear.
John: What else do you find challenging?
Jane: Well, I have to say that I don’t enjoy taking minutes in team meetings and find it challenging writing them up afterwards.
John: I’m glad you told me you find that challenging. If we had someone else who could do it and enjoyed it that would be the ideal. However, we don’t. So, what would make that work better?
Jane: Well, I appreciate that we can’t record meetings for confidentiality reasons otherwise that would help. I don’t know really.
John: What have you already tried?
Jane: I have tried making shorter notes but then when I read them back to type them up, I can’t always remember what was being said.
John: What else have you tried?
Jane: I don’t know what else to try to be honest.
John: Could I make a suggestion?
Jane: Yes please!
John: Well, I believe we have an approved transcribing app that you could use to help you. I know that Bob in HR knows more about it, so you could ask him.
Jane: Really? That would be great. I’m going to go and ask Bob right after our meeting! Thanks John.
John: It’s a pleasure Jane and I hope that helps so minute-taking gets easier! Is there anything else you’re struggling with Jane?
Jane: I made a mistake the other day on that report didn’t I!
John: Yes you did and you dealt with it. So, what would you do differently next time?
Jane: I am going to create a template for this kind of report with a table for stats. Then I’ll put the stats in first then use “four eyes” and get someone to check the figures! Then I’ll finish the report.
John: That sounds like a good plan! I like that solution, let me know how it goes. Is there anything else you’d like to discuss today Jane before we close?
Jane: No, that’s it! I have to say that I actually enjoyed this meeting, I was nervous at the beginning, but feel much better.
John: Well, know that you’re doing a great job Jane. Thank you for all you’re doing and you come and see me any time you need to.
Jane: Thank you.
So, who was giving the feedback?
Yes, Jane pretty much gave her own feedback there.
So, what goes wrong in feedback sessions then?
- If we don’t spend enough time first asking the other person about their perspective, we are in danger of making assumptions about what they already know / don’t know and this is the most demotivating thing we can do.
- When we have to give feedback, so often people start with negative stuff right away, or just brush over the positive stuff. As a result, the other person will feel deflated and possibly quite defensive. We are all human after all.
- In reality, we all know how we are doing, whether we admit it or not. So, if you build trust by asking what the other person thinks about their performance, listen to them and put yourself in their shoes for a moment. Also, by asking them how they think they are doing and what they have already tried, we won’t make the mistake of jumping in there and assuming they haven’t already tried to work it out themselves.
So, when we are always looking for a Win-Win, then of course everybody wins.
So, my first experience of real developmental feedback was over 30 years ago and it has stayed with me throughout my career and running a business and when I have used this model, it works every time because it builds on that foundation of self-worth in everyone.
Tom Rath is an author and researcher who has spent the past two decades studying how work can improve human health and well-being and here is one of his well-known quotes:
“Employees who report receiving recognition and praise within the last seven days show increased productivity, get higher scores from customers, and have better safety records. They’re just more engaged at work.”
As always, I will leave you with that thought.
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With best wishes for your success!