Category Archives: Giving feedback

How to Review Induction

Reviewing induction

Don’t be lazy when reviewing induction

I was chatting with someone yesterday about getting employee feedback to gauge how they are feeling.

We talked specifically about getting feedback during someone’s induction. You and I both know the importance of a good induction programme, so that new employees can:

  • Get up to speed in their role as quickly as possible
  • Feel confident in their new role
  • Form a positive impression of the business and reassure them it’s a place they want to stay

What many businesses do is to set about this with a lazy question.

And that question is

“Is everything OK?”

Asking “Is everything OK?” at best will only give you a yes or no answer.

And more often than not people will respond “yes” irrespective of how they are really feeling. (The same applies with customers by the way.)

Instead here are my top tips for getting meaningful feedback when reviewing someone’s induction and your onboarding process in general, so all your hard earned efforts to recruit don’t go down the drain…

Regular reviews

Schedule weekly meetings with your new starters for a minimum of the first four weeks to review progress, answer questions, and identify when help is needed.

This is also a great time to get feedback from them on their ideas and observations. Often a fresh pair of eyes will highlight things you’ve missed, and they bring with them experience and insights on how to do things better.

Structure

To get the best results from these review meetings ensure you have a structure to follow.

  1. Start by asking how they’re settling in.
  2. If you’ve set them some specific mini goals, ask how things are progressing. To avoid a general “ok” which doesn’t really tell you very much, I find asking people to rate on a scale of 1 to 10 gives you a good starting point then to explore whether there might be any problems or concerns.
  3. Then go on to discuss how you can help to enable them to do their job better. Are they getting all the support, resources and training that they need? What tasks are they finding challenging, and what can you do to make it easier?
  4. What feedback, suggestions or ideas do they have about the way you do things?
  5. Give your own feedback (see this previous post here or watch a recent video here starting at 1:47) on how you feel that they are doing.
  6. Agree what happens next, what to do more of, what to do less of, where they need support from you and what form that might take.
  7. Summarise any actions, record and agree next review date.

If you only do one thing when reviewing induction: Avoid closed questions such as “is everything OK?” and replace them with structured open questions about specifics.

 


Giving Supportive Feedback

Giving supportive feedback

How to give supportive feedback

I was recently a guest on a webinar and was speaking on the topic of giving supportive feedback.

We did a poll at the start to ask if people felt they give or receive enough feedback. 80% responded NO. This stacks up with the feedback I hear from delegates on my workshops too.

I know I’ve written on this topic before and I make no apologies for doing so again as I believe giving supportive feedback is such an important skill for any line manager, mentor or coach. When done well, not only can it improve performance, but it can be a great morale booster too.

I’m not going to go over the structure again as you can read about this here or watch a recent video here (starting at 1:47).

But, here are my before, during and after tips on giving supportive feedback.

Before

  • Know what good looks like, so you know what benchmark you’re using for your feedback.
  • Ensure all line managers are consistent in their expectations and messages; this is particularly important when team members report to different managers/supervisors on different shifts.
  • Be clear on objectives/the outcome you were looking for as result of giving feedback; is it to see an improvement (if so in what way?) or are you aiming to show recognition for a job well done and boost morale.
  • Timing is important. Ideally you want to feed back as soon as possible after the event you’re feeding back on. If you’re feeding back as part of a general review, choose the most recent examples.
  • Consider moods/emotional states, both yours and theirs. If you’re frustrated or irritated by their performance, this will inevitably taint the feedback, so wait until you are in a better frame of mind.
  • Equally, if they are in a negative state e.g. tired after a long shift, this might be fine for giving morale boosting feedback, but if you need to see an improvement in performance this is properly not the best time.

During

  • Avoid fluff (see Fluff busting). Be specific and stick to the facts. If you need to deliver bad news, don’t fluff up the message in cotton wool. If you need to see an improvement, make sure this is clear. So avoid the praise sandwich.
  • Make it a two-way conversation, asking for their comments and ideas on how to improve or build on their successes.
  • Tune into their reaction: watch for signs that they are confused, defensive, or worried, and address these concerns during the conversation.
  • Demonstrate your trust in them. If they sense you have no faith in them, it will become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
  • Commitment: show your commitment and support for any actions needed following the discussion, and get their commitment on their part.

After

  • Be prepared to invest time and attention in following up, otherwise it implies it’s not important.
  • Monitor progress, offering support, guidance and coaching where it’s needed.
  • Maintain momentum; you need to be confident that any changes aren’t just adhered to for the next two days, what about the next 2 weeks or next 2 months? It takes time to embed new habits.
  • Recognise improvement or actions taken as a result of the feedback, and give praise where it’s due, so people feel proud of their progress/achievements. This means people will be more likely to be receptive to future feedback.

If you only do one thing

  • Give a piece of supportive feedback today to at least one person in your team.



Old Habits

old habits

Old Habits Die Hard

If you’ve ever tried to give up smoking (or any other bad old habits) you’ll know just how difficult that can be. Most people really do need a very compelling reason to do so.

But breaking old habits isn’t just confined to ‘bad’ habits. I remember a couple of years ago going back to driving a manual car having become used to driving an automatic. For the first week or so I kept stalling it, simply because I’d got out of the habit of having to use the clutch! Old habits die hard.

And in the same way as changing my driving technique, if some of your processes or procedures have changed, it can take a while for everyone to get used to the new way.

There may be some old habits people have got into as a result of time pressures, poor equipment or simply cutting corners. These too can end up being the new norm, the embedded habits that need to be broken before going back to a previous ‘right’ way.

But even after you’ve shown someone the ‘new’ way of doing something, once they get back to the workplace – the slightest obstacle will send people back to their old comfortable way of doing it.

It’s all too easy for people to revert, particularly if that feels more comfortable, is easier or is quicker.

Human nature says we’ll always take the path of least resistance!

Sometimes you need to break the old habit first.

Here are 6 things you can do to help break the old habits

1. Why

Most of us like familiarity, so without having a compelling enough reason, people are unlikely to put much effort into changing their habits. Most people really do need a very compelling reason to do so, that’s in their best interest, not just yours. Will it make their job easier or quicker? Will it make the task more enjoyable? Will it please customers and lead to more tips or fewer complaints? Will it help their teammates?

If people understand the end result they’re aiming for, this can help clarify why something is right versus why something is wrong. They can often see or feel for themselves that the wrong way doesn’t achieve the result they want and vice versa.

If you’re asking someone to do something in a way that’s doing away with something they took pride in in the past, this can make them feel their contribution wasn’t valued. So be sensitive to this and that your reasoning focuses on being even better, rather than discrediting the old way.

2. What good feels like

What can help is to get them to imagine achieving the new habit and how it feels.

For example, a recent client had got into the habit of putting off taking and making calls to customers who she knew were demanding. So rather than her focusing on the potential negative outcome of the call (which was increasingly likely to be the case, the longer she put off dealing with the customer) I got her to focus on the ideal outcome.

If people can envisage the perfect outcome it helps clarify what’s needed and gives people more motivation to change.

3. What to do differently?

Sometimes there are only subtle differences between the right way and the old habit. Once people know what’s wrong and why, it’s considerably easier for them to grasp the right way; or even to identify the right way for themselves.

Be specific on the tangible and measurable indicators, the differences between the right way and the wrong way. This will make it easier for the other person to realise and measure their own performance and more likely to spot when they’ve slipped back.

Quantitative standards or pointers are easier to interpret than qualitative ones. For example, if you want the phone answered quickly, specify in how many rings. When it comes to qualitative standards, it can be far more open to personal interpretation, so giving examples and/or demonstrations (and of course leading by example) can be helpful, but still be prepared to make the comparison between the right way and the wrong way.

4. I can’t

Look out for and listen for hesitation. If they believe they can’t do it find out why. Is it due to time, resources, authority? Is it due to confidence? Maybe they simply need a little more feedback, support and coaching.

You may believe that they have everything they need, and they are capable, but if they don’t believe so, it’s important you understand why they think this before you can overcome this barrier. Their perception is their reality, so you’ll need to change this perception before moving forward.

The longer it takes to remove that barrier (be it real or imagined) the less likely the new habit will even get started, let alone last.

5. Quick wins

When the old way feels more comfortable, is easier or is quicker, it’s too easy for people to revert; human nature says we’ll always take the path of least resistance!

If someone tries to change their habit, and don’t get results straight away there’s a good chance they decide it isn’t worth the effort. In their mind it’s not working, so it’s too easy for them to give up too soon.

Reduce the risk of this happening by recognising early wins, feeding back on their progress and just how far they’ve come, to encourage them to keep going.

6. Patience

It takes time to establish new habits; to create a new norm, some say as many as 66 times. So, if it’s a task people only do once a day, this might take 2 months or more.

Forming new habits doesn’t necessarily mean you need to retrain people, but they might need a little bit of a helping hand, some feedback and maybe some coaching to keep them on track.

So be patient. Continue to monitor, coach and correct as needed until the new habit is simply second nature.

Take Action to break old habits

If you only do one thing: be prepared to give further coaching, support and feedback until they have formed new habits.

Today’s top tip

Conduct daily buzz briefings to inform the team on what’s happening in your business on a day-to-day basis. Which customers you’re expecting today, when will there be peaks, what’s happening elsewhere in the business, in your industry or locality which could have a knock on effect on your customers?

Related article: https://www.naturallyloyal.com/conscious-incompetence/ ).

Related video: Changing behaviours when people believe they do that already


Giving Feedback

giving feedback

The giving of feedback is probably one of the most vital skills in management. But your team need to know how they are doing.

According to Ken Blanchard …

“Feedback is the breakfast of champions”

People need to know how they are doing in order to know what to keep doing and what needs improving, and how.  For many employees it is a case of ‘No new is good news’, as they only get to hear if things go wrong. And when they’ve been learning something new or a different way of doing things  – for example customer service training – they need feedback to help hone and develop their new skills.

Giving feedback is not only key for improving and perfecting performance, but – done in a supportive way – is highly motivational. Let’s face it; if you were doing something that constituted poor performance, was annoying, or let others down wouldn’t you like to know?

And equally if you were doing something really well, that made a difference to others and to the business, wouldn’t you like to know it was recognised?

Giving feedback starts with the impromptu “thank you, well done” but that on its own doesn’t tell people enough to sustain or improve performance. To be effective feedback must let people know what specifically was good or bad, what difference it made and how it can be built upon or improved.

Using SAID when giving feedback

One way to do this is by using a very simple model: S A I D

Standard

When giving feedback, particularly on poor performance, it’s useful to know what you are bench-marking this against. If people don’t know what is expected of them, it is very easy to get defensive.  So establish the standards you expect and communicate these.

You may not always need to refer to these during the feedback process, but be mindful of these as you give the feedback.

Action

What is the action they performed?  Emphasis is on their actions, not on your interpretation of it.  So you are feeding back what you observed or heard, not on their intentions, their personality or their character.

Limit the number of actions you comment on a level they can handle – far better to give feedback on one key action that they can digest and build on to make a difference, than ten things which leaves the message diluted (and invariably leaves them demotivated).

Because this is based on fact it is less likely to be challenged. Link back to the standard if necessary to highlight where people have exceeded or fallen short.

Impact

What impact did their actions have on the result?  This can include positive or negative impact on the end result, or on the process itself e.g. the amount of effort needed on their part to achieve the result, or the impact on others, etc.

When giving praise it is so easy to say to someone ‘that was really good, well done’ without saying why it was good or what made the difference this time compared with previous occasions.

Development

How can they build on this for the future?  Remember, the purpose of feedback is to enhance performance and motivate.

So this last stage is important to determine what happens next e.g. develop to make it even better next time around, to correct a mistake or to perfect a process.  Put the emphasis on what is missing rather than what is wrong – building on strengths or positives is far more likely to engender enthusiasm.

Using open questions, ask the individual how they think things can be developed or built upon.  This will help to gain buy in and you may be surprised by the options they suggest.

Here are the three key situations for giving feedback within the workplace.

  1. When all is going well – feedback and praise.
  2. Mixed performance – feedback mixed with positive and corrective action.
  3. When all is not well – feedback to address under-performance.

This model works equally well in all three.

You may recall something referred to as ‘The Praise Sandwich.’  The problems with the praise sandwich are that, in fact, it is a bad news sandwich, and usually the ‘filling’  (i.e. the bad news) is so thin and the ‘bread’ or praise element so thick and fluffy, that the key message gets completely lost.  The result? The person remembers the first and last part of the discussion – the praise – and not the part you want to change.  The end result is that nothing changes.

This is not to say you don’t give something positive at the start of the discussion. This helps to build rapport and makes the recipient of the feedback more receptive. Using the SAID model people know exactly what the issue is.

But by understanding the impact it has had, and having been given an opportunity to put forward their own ideas to avoid it in future, they will still come out of it with some dignity, and you are far more likely to see something change for the better.

Feedback is most effective when it is given as soon after the event as you can. But sometimes you may be better off delaying until the end of the shift or day. Take into account whether the timing is appropriate for the individual to take on it board (e.g. avoid times when they are under tight time pressures, or about to start something for which they need total focus).

Consider your mood, e.g. if you are annoyed at seeing poor performance do you need time to cool off.  Do you need to wait until you can take them away from their workplace for privacy; as a general rule praise in public, reprimand in private.

Identify your motives before giving feedback i.e. what do you want the end result to be? Be prepared for their reaction, and how you will respond. But be direct, don’t sugar coat the message so it gets lost.

Give praise where it is due, but when it’s not, make it clear that you need to see improvements or changes Preserve the other person’s self esteem by delivering bad news in a non-critical way, and concentrate on your pitch and tone so that valuable information is not seen as a complaint, criticism, whinge or nag.

Given in a constructive way feedback can not only improve performance but can raise morale, build rapport and promote initiative.  It also opens the door for your team to provide you with some feedback too.

before – during – after feedback 

Video; how to give feedback  (starting at 1:47).

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How can we learn from mistakes?

learn from mistakes

Learning from mistakes

Last weekend we watched the film “Sully”, the story of Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger (Tom Hanks), an American pilot who became a hero after landing his damaged plane on the Hudson River.

I think there are many lessons we can take from this story, ones of leadership, and going the extra mile for customers, amongst others.

But the lesson I want to focus on today is about learning from mistakes.

If you know the story, you will know that the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) initially claimed pilot error, based on simulations of the lead up to the landing. Whilst watching the film it seemed so unfair to be making this accusation.

But, if there is one thing the aviation industry does well, it’s to learn from mistakes. Any mistake can cost lives, so for any mistake or near miss they always do an in-depth analysis to avoid it happening again.

This principle doesn’t just apply to airlines. In any business there are times when things don’t go according to plan or mishaps happen, albeit maybe not with quite such serious consequences.

Can we really learn from these mistakes?

Well, yes. Providing we’re able to spot the mistake, make an effort to understand the mistake and be open to learning from it.

Rather than dwelling on the negatives, reflect on what you and the team have learnt from these events.

Here are 6 ideas to help you and your team to learn from mistakes and reduce the likelihood of a repetition.

Making the transition

When someone is doing a task for the first time sometimes the only way to really hone new skills and develop true competence is once applied on the job. But if people are fearful of getting it wrong, they will be reluctant and will never get the chance to perfect their skill.

We shouldn’t expect perfection straight away. People need time to practise and find their own way of doing things, and not be afraid to make the odd mistake so long as they learn from it. Recognise and reward as they improve, even if things are not yet perfect.

Trust

Demonstrate your trust in your team members by giving them responsibility and authority to do what they believe is right. E.g. to respond to customers’ expectations and requests in the way that they see fit.

Define what levels of authority they have in any given situation, and give them examples of when they need to refer to a manager or get sign off, and when it’s OK for them to make the decision.

If and when you do have to get involved, use this as an opportunity for others to learn from the situation, by explaining your approach and why you approached it in the way you did.

Near misses

It can be easy to dismiss a near miss; no harm done.

This time…

Unless these get reported, they may be an accident waiting to happen. So encourage your team to be open about reporting potential problems and what could go wrong.  Listen to flush out potential risky situations. Have a process in place which makes this quick and easy.

Then agree what steps you can take to avoid them or minimise their impact.

Unless followed though promptly they won’t bother telling you next time.

Aim v blame

People are often afraid to report mistakes in case they are going to be blamed or reprimanded in some way. But, a failure to report and deal with problems promptly not only leads to frustrations, and later accusations of whose fault it is, but could cost you dearly in the long run if it causes long-term damage.

Encourage your team to be open about any mistakes, whether they are the cause or not.

Get people into the habit of looking for solutions rather than trying to blame others. Asking “what can I do to improve the situation?” “What’s in my control?” Rather than focusing on what’s gone wrong, or seeing it as a failure.

Own up

Admit when you’ve made a mistake – when you’re open about making mistakes your team will recognise that everyone makes mistakes. But, make sure you also focus on what’s been learnt as a result of that mistake.

(See also The Emotional Bank Account https://www.naturallyloyal.com/the-emotional-bank-account/)

Culture

Foster a supportive culture, where it’s okay to ask questions and admit you don’t know all the answers, where you’re encouraged to seek out new activities and it’s accepted that people won’t always get things right.

Give supportive feedback, and help people see their own mistakes, as well as encouraging them by pointing out what’s gone well. A culture where it’s OK to speak up if you think something isn’t up to standard; where people won’t take offence if someone suggests a better way of doing something.

Create a culture where it’s accepted that mistakes happen, the important thing is to learn from them and prevent the same mistake happening again.

Take action

If you only do one thing: The next time you or any of your team make a mistake use it as an opportunity to learn from it and move on.

Today’s top tip

Book recommendation: Black Box Thinking by Matthew Syed.

An inspiring book about how we cannot grow unless we are prepared to learn from our mistakes, by understanding and overcoming failures and demonstrates how even marginal gains all contribute to success.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Black-Box-Thinking-Surprising-Success/dp/1473613779

 



How am I doing? Conducting effective 1-1 meetings

How to conduct effective 1-1 meetingsConducting effective 1:1 meetings

Conducting effective 1-1 meetings is an essential skills for any manager. Never under estimate the impact of sitting down regularly with each member of staff on a one to one basis.

Whether you call them “one to one meetings”, “reviews” or simply “chats” really doesn’t matter; the important thing is that they happen.

And regularly.

But, why would you want to have these if you see your team members every day and give them feedback as you go?

Because conducting effective 1-1 meetings provides an opportunity for a private discussion, to raise points which you may not want others to hear, and for them to raise things they might not want everyone else to hear.

They also provide that window of time to focus on them:

  • not just you telling them how they’re doing,
  • but allowing them the opportunity to tell you how they think they are doing.
  • and to listen to their ideas, questions, concerns and suggestions

Your aim in conducting a 1-1 meeting should be:

  • To motivate your team members to either continue or sustain good performance
  • For team members to feel confident that they have the ability and support to fill any gaps where they need development.
  • It’s an opportunity for them to have their contribution recognised – not just performance, but have their ideas heard.
  • It devotes time to set direction and goals for the coming weeks.
  • The net result should be an enthused and motivated employee who knows what they should be focusing on, and how this will contribute to the business.

Two-way

I often hear of managers spending literally hours preparing for the meetings, then finding themselves having to work twice as hard to get the employee to contribute their ideas and views to the meeting. One to ones are as much for their benefit as yours, so ask them to take some responsibility for the preparation too.

There may be things they’ve done that are worthy of comment, which you are oblivious to; remember you don’t see them every minute of every day they are at work. So ask them to plan what they would like to discuss.

  • Ask open questions to get their ideas on performance and how to move forward.
  • Use the AID* model for feedback: They’ll still want your view on performance
  • Ask for their views
  • Offer support: If there are shortfalls you need to understand why, and then help bridge that gap.

3 core questions for conducting-effective-1-1-meetings

As a minimum you may like to consider these 3 questions:

  • Achievements
  • Shortfalls
  • Focus

1. Achievements

What successes or achievements have you had this month or what have you done this month that you’re proud of?

  • What have been your top 2/3 successes?
  • What have you accomplished towards this year’s goals?
  • What has gone particular well for you this week/month/period?
  • What have you been particularly pleased with?
  • What have they achieved towards pre-determined goals, targets, KPIs, etc.

Start on a positive and is an opportunity for the employee to blow their own trumpet.

Of course if these are things you’ve spotted too this is your opportunity to give praise where it’s due, and reinforce their success.

This is a time when you might discover other strengths or successes that you’ve been previously unaware of, so take note and ask for examples if you need to.

Ensure you build on their successes and discuss how they can do more of this or emulate this in future. (See the AID model)

Compliment them, tell them why you value their contribution, focus on strengths.

2. What’s not gone so well?

What disappointments or frustrations?

  • If you had a magic wand, what would you change or do differently?
  • Where have you fallen short against this month’s goals/KPIs?
  • What hasn’t gone to plan?
  • What have you been disappointed with?
  • What have you set out to do but it hasn’t yet happened?

Sometimes people will be very hard on themselves, and even if people have not done everything you’ve asked of them, when they are identifying this for themselves it’s a lot easier for both of you to have that conversation.

How have they gone about this? Something may have given a good result at first glance, but it’s all very well achieving all their targets but not so good if they’ve upset colleagues or customers along the way.

Look at this as an opportunity to learn, so discuss what got in the way and how to overcome this in future. This might need some more support or training from you or additional resources.

3. Where’s the next focus?

What do you feel needs to be your number 1 focus for the coming month?

Alternatives:

What needs to be the focus for the coming week/month/period?

This is your opportunity to look ahead and either set some goals for the forthcoming period or to summarise any development that has been identified as result of the previous 2 questions.

  • What needs to be focused on or addressed, and what support or development do they need to do this

At the end of the meeting ask if they have anything to add.

Summarise theirs and your actions, record and agree next review date.

If there needs to be more commitment or input on their part ask them to do the summarising. This way you know there is at least an understanding of what’s expected over the coming period, and an opportunity to set this straight if their interpretation is different from yours.

If you simply ask the 3 questions on a regular basis over time your team will get used to you asking these and as time goes on hopefully they’ll be more prepared for each question giving it some thought prior to your meeting.

Their preparation obviously doesn’t let you off the hook altogether, but if they are well prepared it will certainly reduce the amount of time needed for conducting effective 1-1 meetings.

See a short video on Conducting effective 1-1 meetings here: https://naturallyloyal.wistia.com/medias/4unqvbced5

If you only do one thing: Find some time in the coming week to schedule a one to one with each of your team.



The Breakfast of Champions?

way to go, good job, well done, you're the man, thumbs up, you rock - a set of isolated sticky notes with positive affirmation words

 

This week I’ve had several conversations with clients and their management teams on giving feedback.

The giving and receiving of feedback is probably one of the most vital skills in management.

According to Ken Blanchard: Feedback is the breakfast of champions

The aim of any feedback is to motivate and encourage more of what they do well, and identify areas where there’s room for improvement.

But, many managers shy away from giving feedback for fear that it won’t be accepted, that they will be challenged on it and put in an awkward situation.

Feedback can be badly received when it’s:

  • Too generalised – not specific enough for effective action to be taken
  • Too personal – based on the person, not the issue(s)
  • Based on something which is not within their power to do anything about
  • Heavily critical – without suggestions for improvement
  • Focused exclusively on the past – recent changes/improvements not taken into account
  • Based on hearsay and gossip – not enough facts to support the arguments
  • An excuse to seek blame – rather than seeking solutions

Giving Effective Feedback

The main reasons for giving feedback are: Motivational when you are giving praise for a job well done and developmental when you want to see some improvement.

An effective feedback model is A I D

Action

Impact

Development

This approach is based on fact rather than your personal interpretation, so removes any subjectivity and the potential for conflict.

Here are the three key situations for giving feedback within the workplace.

  1. When all is going well – feedback and praise.
  2. Mixed performance – feedback mixed with positive and corrective action.
  3. When all is not well – feedback to address under-performance.  *(see not below)

This model works equally well in all three.

If it can be argued with it’s poor feedback!

AID in more detail

Action

Report on your observations. What did the person do?

  • Describe as factually as possible i.e. what has been seen or heard
  • Feedback on successes as well as where improvements are needed
  • Build confidence by highlighting positive behaviours and actions
  • Focus on behaviour not personality or attitude
  • How likely is it they can do anything about it? Focus on things which are within their control to change
  • Are you the source of the problem? (e.g. mixed messages, or lack of resources)
  • Take ownership of the feedback, not relying on rumours and hearsay
  • Use pre-determined standards as the yardstick

If you’re feeding back on something that’s been reported to you through a third party (e.g. a customer complaint) focus on what the customer said rather than your interpretation, or the customer’s interpretation of what this means.

For example: instead of saying “you were rude to that customer” (which is someone else’s interpretation) you might say “I’ve had this feedback….” And then state what the customer said. You can follow this up by asking for their view of what happened.

Impact

What impact did their actions have on the result?  This is the reason you’re giving the feedback, because of the end result whether good or bad, or on the process itself e.g. the amount of effort needed on their part to achieve the result, or the impact on others, etc.

  • When it’s good performance, reinforce how positive actions have helped
  • When a change is needed ask them why actions have been ineffective. Getting their view helps get buy-in
  • Link to something that is important to them, rather than what’s important to you
  • Check they understand the implications

Do differently or Develop

  • How can good performance be built upon or emulated?
  • Ask them to suggest improvements or alternatives
  • Focus on what’s missing rather than what’s gone wrong
  • Ensure the outcome you want is clear
  • Check their understanding of what to do in future
  • Demonstrate your confidence in them and offer support

Remember, the purpose of feedback is to enhance performance and motivate.  So, this last stage is important to determine what happens next e.g. develop to make it even better next time around, to correct a mistake or to perfect a process.  Putting the emphasis on what is missing (rather than what is wrong) builds on strengths or positives so is far more likely to engender enthusiasm.

Limit the number of actions you comment on to a level they can handle – far better to give feedback on one key action that they can digest and build on to make a difference, than ten things which leaves the message diluted (and invariably leaves them demotivated).

The more you can involve the team member in the conversation the better.

Use open questions to encourage them to tell you as much as possible, rather than you telling them. For example, you might tell them what your observations have been, but ask them what led to this, what the implications might be and ask them to suggest how they could do things differently in future.

Under-performance*

When all is not well and the prime focus is on under-performance it’s easy to dilute the main message. If you need an improvement, make this clear. Starting and ending with praise (often referred to as the ‘praise sandwich’) can help keep it positive, but can detract from your main message if your intention is improvement.

Your approach

  • Be direct, don’t sugar coat the message.
  • Be sincere.
  • Give praise where it is due.
  • When it’s not, make it clear that you need to see improvements or changes.
  • Avoid being side tracked by any of the feedback blockers.
  • Preserve the other person’s self esteem.
  • Deliver bad news in a non-critical way.
  • Concentrate on your pitch and tone so that valuable information is not seen as a complaint, criticism, whinge or nag.

Timing and planning

  • Give feedback as soon after the event as you can, but ensuring privacy if appropriate (praise in public, reprimand in private).
  • When giving feedback based on a longer period e.g. in an appraisal situation, the more recent the example, the more impact it will have.
  • Ensure the timing is appropriate for the individual to take on it board (e.g. avoid times when they are under tight time pressures, or about to start something for which they need total focus).
  • What condition are you in to give feedback right now – do any of the above apply to you, or are you angry about the way they have handled something and need time to cool off.
  • Consider your motives before giving feedback i.e. what do you want the end result to be?
  • Be prepared for their reaction, and how you will respond.

Given in a constructive way feedback can not only improve performance but can raise morale, build rapport and promote initiative.


Build confidence in others

This is part two of this week blog ‘Building Confidence’:

Limiting confidence just to your own abilities comes over as arrogance and failing to express confidence in the capability of others becomes a self-filling prophecy. People soon pick it up when you fail to trust or allocate any responsibility to them, leaving them doubting their own abilities. Lack of confidence will only lead to people not getting on with things off their own bat, which can be both frustrating and draining for you.

Encourage your team by assuring them that they have the skills and knowledge. If you really are unsure of somebody’s ability to deliver what’s needed reflect on what help and support they would need in order to achieve this and focus on that instead.

Look for the capabilities in others that they themselves may not see and help them to see these for themselves. If they doubt their own  ability encourage them to focus on what they are good at and where they do well. Then talk about what is holding them back and suggest ways of dealing with this.

Build confidence by providing positive feedback and recognition. Offer plenty of support and encouragement. Explain clearly the importance and significance of what they do. Foster a supportive culture where people can learn from their mistakes, rather than be blamed. Encourage team members to come up with their own areas of improvement and how they will achieve these. Recognise and reward when these improvements have been made even if things are not yet perfect!

 

Inspire commitment

Set out a clear vision of what you want to achieve for your business and what business success looks like. Paint a vivid picture that your team can relate to. Translate your overall strategy into meaningful direction.  Involve the team and deciding on how this vision can be achieved; they are the ones who will need to implement the lion share and have first-hand experience of what works and what your customers want.

Target individuals and inspire them to take ownership. Set goals which are stretching but still achievable and demonstrate your belief in the likelihood of success and your confidence in your team’s ability.

Make statements to build hope, optimism, excitement and enthusiasm in others and demonstrate your own belief in and have high expectations for the success of a particular plan or strategy.

Demonstrate your trust in the team. Empower individuals and the team by giving them authority to make decisions and take action. Generate a climate of confidence by drawing attention to the strengths of the team and individuals and where they complement one another rather than dwelling on shortcomings.

 

Join me on the FREE recording from my recent tele seminar on  how to get the best from your team


Getting your team on board for their performance reviews.

Getting them on board for a staff one to one.

One to ones should be a two way discussion. Ask open questions to get their ideas on performance and how to move forward.

When giving feedback on their performance use the AID model:

  • A  Action what they did – i.e. what you have seen or heard (back this up with examples, focus on actions not on your interpretation or their intentions)
  • I  Impact – what has that achieved, or what impact has it had on the business, the department, the guests, or themselves
  • D  Development – what can they do to build on this, or do differently to improve or perfect, and how you can support them

Ask for their views, not only on their performance, but what support they need, what could be improved in the business, what feedback they have had from guests, their suggestions for future objectives. And be prepared to listen to their answers and probe for more detail or examples if you need to so you fully understand what they are saying.

Remember, if people’s previous experience of one to one meetings up till now has been bad or at best just a waste of time, it can take time to build trust before these can be totally honest exchanges. Start by asking the questions above, or similar, and use this as a starting point to get the discussions going.

 

Where to begin

If you aren’t already conducting regular one to ones now might be a good time to start.

Begin with the end in mind.

Use your first meeting to establish (jointly) their goals and KPIs if you don’t already have these in place.

So, get your diary out and get these in your diary. You know if you don’t they’ll never happen!



F is for Feedback

In the A-Z of hospitality leadership F is for Feedback

The giving and receiving of feedback is probably one of the most vital skills in management.

According to Ken Blanchard

“Feedback is the breakfast of champions”

People need to know how they are doing in order know what to keep doing and what needs improving, and how.  For many employees it is a case of ‘No new is good news’, as they only get to hear if things go wrong.  Feedback is not only key for improving and perfecting performance, but – done in a constructive way – is highly motivational. Let’s face it; if you were doing something that constituted poor performance, was annoying, or let others down wouldn’t you like to know? And equally if you were doing something really well that made a difference to others and to the business, wouldn’t you like to know it was recognised?

Feedback starts with the impromptu “thank you, well done” but that on its own does not tell people enough to sustain or improve performance. To be effective feedback must let people know what specifically was good or bad, what difference it made and how it can be built upon or improved.
One way to do this is by using a very simple model:

S A I D

Standard

When giving feedback, particularly on poor performance, it’s useful to know what you are benchmarking this against. If people don’t know what is expected of them, it is very easy to get defensive.  So establish the standards you expect and communicate these.  You may not always need to refer to these during the feedback process, but be mindful of these as you give the feedback.

Action

What is the action they performed?  Emphasis is on their actions, not on your interpretation of it.  So you are feeding back what you observed or heard, not on their intentions, their personality or their character.  Limit the number of actions you comment on a level they can handle – far better to give feedback on one key action that they can digest and build on to make a difference, than ten things which leaves the message diluted (and invariably leaves them demotivated).  Because this is based on fact it is less likely to be challenged. Link back to the standard if necessary to highlight where people have exceeded or fallen short.

Impact

What impact did their actions have on the result?  This can include positive or negative impact on the end result, or on the process itself e.g. the amount of effort needed on their part to achieve the result, or the impact on others, etc.  When giving praise it is so easy to say to someone ‘that was really good, well done’ without saying why it was good or what made the difference this time compared with previous occasions.

Development

How can they build on this for the future?  Remember, the purpose of feedback is to enhance performance and motivate.  So this last stage is important to determine what happens next e.g. develop to make it even better next time around, to correct a mistake or to perfect a process.  Put the emphasis on what is missing rather than what is wrong – building on strengths or positives is far more likely to engender enthusiasm. Using open questions, ask the individual how they think things can be developed or built upon.  This will help to gain buy in and you may be surprised by the options they suggest.

Here are the three key situations for giving feedback within the workplace.

1.    When all is going well – feedback and praise.
2.    Mixed performance – feedback mixed with positive and corrective action.
3.    When all is not well – feedback to address under-performance.

This model works equally well in all three.

Feedback is most effective when it is given as soon after the event as you can. But sometimes you may be better off delaying until the need of the shift or day. Take into whether the timing is appropriate for the individual to take on it board (e.g. avoid times when they are under tight time pressures, or about to start something for which they need total focus).  Consider your mood, e.g. if you are annoyed at seeing poor performance do you need time to cool off.  Do you need to wait until you can take them away from their workplace for privacy; as a general rule praise in public, reprimand in private.

Consider your motives before giving feedback i.e. what do you want the end result to be? Be prepared for their reaction, and how you will respond. But be direct, don’t sugar coat the message so it gets lost. Give praise where it is due, but when it’s not, make it clear that you need to see improvements or changes Preserve the other person’s self esteem by delivering bad news in a non-critical way, and concentrate on your pitch and tone so that valuable information is not seen as a complaint, criticism, whinge or nag.

Given in a constructive way feedback can not only improve performance but can raise morale, build rapport and promote initiative.  It also opens the door for your team to provide you with some feedback too.

More on feedback in Leading for Peak Performance. Find out more here.