ARE YOU GIVING STRUCTURED FEEDBACK?
Feedback gets messy when there is lack of clarity over what good should look like, or confusion around deadlines, roles and responsibilities or structure. This is totally at the hands of the leader. When everyone is clear about who is doing what, by when and how, and most importantly what good looks like, holding people to account is far easier.
We all have bad days and fall short from time to time. Check in with team members to see how they are getting on. Ignoring the blip is never a good idea, it shows that you are not being present and alert to others. Don’t sweat the small stuff , but don’t ignore it either, as it’s much easier to talk about the blips than the big performance issues.
Feedback cultures are rare. It takes courage and requires a huge dose of vulnerability as you step into the unpredictable and
emotional jungle. Some people just blurt it out to get it over and done with, without any care or kindness. Others simply ignore
issues until they become huge problems that feel like an avalanche descending. Sometimes the conversation is a bumbling bowl of
spaghetti with neither party knowing when the feedback starts and the general chit-chat ends. None of that is helpful to you or
to the recipient.
Even though it is uncomfortable, LeaderX puts feedback smack bang in the middle of the table. They do it with
kindness, clarity and empathy, but they don’t beat around the bush. When feedback becomes the normal way of doing things,
people are encouraged to give direct, peer-to-peer feedback that is forward-focused, timely and motivating.
The IDEAS model is a technique I share with leaders to help them structure feedback. Try it for yourself and see if it works
for you. When everyone understands the model, everyone understands how feedback is "done around here" and fear reduces.
Think of some feedback that you need to give someone. Perhaps it’s some feedback that you have been avoiding because you
know it’s going to be tough. Now follow the model all the way through to plan and prepare.
IDENTIFY THE TOPIC
Get clear about what the real issue is. What is the behaviour, mistake, or failure that you have seen, experienced, heard or
noticed, and what is the impact of it on the team or individual? You need to be clear about your intentions and the outcome you
want from giving the feedback.
A key purpose of the conversation is to discover the truth. You may hold your truth or beliefs, but what is going on from their
perspective? Tell your story – what you saw, heard, experienced or felt, using I statements rather than YOU. Share your wants
or outcomes, and then ask them to share their story. Initially, you might get a load of justification and blame, but just listen
with curiosity. You are listening to understand their truth. After they have shared, summarise what you heard, only focusing on
this topic, and then try to agree on a way forward.
Think about options and solutions to the problem. When in conversation, allow the recipient to find some solutions, only
stepping in if they genuinely don’t have any answers.
What action will you, or can you, agree to? Once you have agreed on how to move forward, you can also agree on some
actions. You may also need to change, invest or adapt as a result of the conversation. So, what will be different going forward?
How will you check in with progress? How will you give support, praise or further feedback? When anyone is trying a new skill or
behaviour, they will suffer a confidence crisis at some point and need some recognition that they are doing a good job. Be there,
notice and give praise and encouragement when it’s due.
This exercise is one of the many tools that we bring into our fearless feedback workshops and build into positive performance management culture change.
You can work with us now, or buy the #LeaderX book to get more ideas about how to build high performance cultures and teams.
Try the free online course here