Giving Feedback : Be an ICON

Ken Blanchard, author of ‘The One Minute Manager’ called feedback “the breakfast of champions”. I have to say I agree! Understanding how you are doing is a key element of employee engagement and is the first step in building awareness which is core to increasing performance and enabling change.

Feedback should be a regular part of your conversations with those around you. We often shy away from giving feedback because we are concerned about how our feedback will be received, or aren’t clear about how to give the message in a way that the other person will ‘hear’. That is understandable, but not telling someone something they need to know is not a sustainable long term option, either with your team, or with your colleagues.

So if you want to make feedback part of your everyday (just like breakfast!), think about becoming a feedback ICON…

I is for Integrity.

What matters most in feedback is the message someone hears. There are ways of framing feedback to make it more easily ‘heard’ but you can accomplish a lot by ensuring you have integrity when it comes to feedback. Firstly, you need to role model both giving and receiving feedback. Think about it. If you are not open to receiving feedback why should anyone feel like receiving feedback from you? Secondly, be clear on your intention and ensure its positive. Even if you think your message will be hard for the person to hear, and you don’t frame your feedback brilliantly, if the person you are giving feedback to knows that you are doing it out of a genuine positive interest in their development or progression, then that goes a long way to ensuring the right message is heard and the resulting discussion is positive.

C is for Context

Context is about ensuring that you and they are in the right place when you give feedback. You are offering up some observations, without judgement and would like to explore them . It is up to them if they want to action the feedback or explore it further. Make sure that they are in a place to be most receptive to the conversation, both mentally and physically. If you are a leader, as you share feedback more regularly, your conversation will likely feel easier because they will be more familiar, but context remains an important element of giving feedback.

O is for Ownership

When an individual feels that they have control over their own performance they are more inclined to hear the messages you are giving. Framing feedback as directives is less likely to have a positive impact than sharing observations and encouraging them to come up with their own suggestions and ideas as to how to action the feedback going forward.

N is for Next?

The purpose of feedback is to build awareness to enable someone to increase their positive impact in the future (not about rehashing the past). Linking feedback to overall performance objectives, as well as tasks that the individual may have coming up can help them think about how to tangibly action the feedback that you are giving. Of course, if the person has a situation coming up where they can apply what they are hearing, then its important that you continue to support them through that situation, and give any reinforcing feedback after the fact. But that shouldn’t be a problem because you are making feedback part of your everyday..right?

All in all, the more that you start to give feedback, the more familiar a conversation it becomes and the ‘easier’ it gets. Anyone can be a feedback icon!

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