Category Archives: Giving feedback

Giving Effective Feedback

giving effective feedback

Giving effective feedback

Last week I was a guest on a webinar and was speaking on the topic of giving effective 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 effective 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 effective 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 feedback 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 effective feedback today to at least one person in your team.



How am I doing?

fun at workConducting effective 1:1 meetings

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 they provide 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 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

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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

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 in the meeting to achieve the same result.

In part 2 we’ll look at some tips for getting started on 1:1’s and how to get the most from them.


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.


How am I doing?

Feedback no news is good newsThe giving and receiving of feedback is probably one of the most vital skills in management.

From a customer service perspective customer feedback is such a valuable source. But your team also 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 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.

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?

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.

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.


Save

Save


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.


Nip it in the bud ~ Dealing with poor performance ~ Part 1

Last week I listened to a feature on the radio talking about driving offences and whether or not people should lose their licences even if they are dependent on their car for their job. In the UK we have a points system that states that when you reach 12 points on your licence you should be banned from driving until the offences have lapsed.

Why have the system if some magistrates then let people off the hook and allow them to continue to drive and re offend. If you’ve been caught driving on the motorway using your mobile phone why is someone who drives for a living any less likely to be a risk to others than someone who doesn’t? To be caught a second or third time should come as no surprise to lose your licence and maybe your job. So soapbox rant over…

But is this any different from the way you treat people who break the rules at work?

I remember in my early days of management someone relating discipline to a red hot poker. If you touch a red hot poker you know you will get burnt. The harder you touch it the more it will burn. The poker does not discriminate; anyone who touches it gets burnt. It burns straight away so conditions you not to keep touching it.

Discipline should be no different.

Rules may be set by legislation, the business, the individual site or department or there may be the unwritten ‘rules’, standards or guidelines set by the individual team or line manager. Whoever has set the ‘rules’ needs to ensure they are not only communicated, but check they are measurable and people understand why they are important. Any rules or standards laid down that you have difficulty explaining begs the question are they necessary? (OK, there may be some legislation we find difficult to explain at times, but any internal rules with no value should be reviewed and updated or binned).

Failure to do anything about it sends the message to everyone else that it’s OK to break the rule. We sometimes misguidedly believe that it’s a one off or the problem will go away; but before you know it the problem has escalated – either the person in question continues to disregard the rule or standard, or it becomes custom and practice for everyone to follow suit.

So nip it in the bud and address it straight away. This does not mean giving everyone a lecture in a group meeting – all this does it makes the ‘non offenders’ irritated that they are all being ‘accused’, whilst those to whom you are aiming your comments either just laugh it off, or it goes by without them realising you are referring to them.

Of course every business should have its own disciplinary process, and I am not going to go into that here. But irrespective of the seriousness of the problem – whether it’s someone being late, not greeting a customer in the way you’d expect, breaking health and safety rules, failure to carry out part of their job, arguing with another member of staff, or doing something in a haphazard way with a poor result – your goal is to resolve the issue and improve performance in future. There are three phases to dealing with poor performance and I’ll be covering these over the next three days.

Managing poor performance is key to effective leadership, and the skills needed will be covered in detail in my forthcoming online leadership coaching programme Leading for Peak Performance which is being launched in late September.


Regular one to ones

Do your hotel staff know the score? ~ Part 4

Never under estimate the impact of sitting down with each member of staff on a one to one basis. Note here the term regular. These should be scheduled so staff can plan for them and around them. And nothing smacks more of “I’m not valued” that one to one meetings being continually cancelled for the slightest reason.

One to ones should be more than just a review of performance. Yes, that’s a part, but they should also be an opportunity to:

  • Giving feedback on specifics (see https://www.naturallyloyal.com/products-rescources/ for a full article on feedback)
  • Talk about their ideas
  • Where they need support and development
  • What you want from them, and they want from you in future
  • Setting goals and direction for the coming weeks and beyond

However these will only be valued if you are true to your word and honour any promises made and can back up your feedback (good or bad) with timely examples. 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.

Tomorrow we’ll cover spur of the moment meetings.

One to one’s are a key to effective leadership, and the skills needed will be covered in detail in my forthcoming online leadership coaching programme


Principles of effective feedback

Here is the 4th and final post on How to Give Contructive Feedback, summarising the key principles.

Download the full article and other related free articles from my downloads page.

Timing and planning

  • Feed back 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.

Standard

  • These should be communicated in advance and only referred to as a reminder if necessary.
  • If you are not certain the person is aware of the standard, check their understanding of the expected standard before diving in with your feedback. This might highlight a need for clarification, reinforcement or training.
  • If people are unaware of the standard, draw a line in the sand, but establish this as the standard moving forward.

Action

  • Ask questions at each stage rather than telling.  Most people will be able to identify for themselves how things have gone, especially if they know the standards in advance.
  • Give feedback on successes as well as where things can be improved.
  • Be prepared to build the confidence of the shrinking violet, who finds it hard to accept any praise.  They may find it hard to see good in anything they do, and only see their mistakes or what went badly.  Ask ‘What were you pleased with, or what went well, or better than last time’?
  • Focus on behaviour, not personality.
  • How likely is it that the person can do anything about it?
  • Could you be the source of the problem, not them?
  • Take ownership – don’t rely on hearsay.  People will be far more receptive to what you have observed directly rather than subjective opinions from others.
  • If necessary draw comparisons between what people say and what they actually do.
  • Use pre determined standards or goals as a yardstick.

Impact

  • Reinforce how positive actions have helped performance.
  • Acknowledge people for what they are not just their accomplishments.
  • Explain or ask them which actions are less effective than they might be and why.
  • Link the outcomes to something they care about (e.g. the amount of effort required on their part, or how others perceive them), rather than simply what is important to you.
  • Check they understand the implications – if they don’t know how their actions affect the business or the task they are unlikely to take on board any changes needed.

Development

  • When things have gone well you may not be looking for improvements from the individual, but how can their good performance be emulated e.g. can they show others how they do it?
  • Ask them to suggest a better, or alternative solution or methods.
  • Focus on what is missing, rather than what is wrong – this helps performance next time.
  • Ensure the outcome you want is clear.
  • Check their understanding of what to do in future – if they have come up with the solution check the method, time scales, etc.

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.

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.

Caroline Cooper