How to Wipe Steam From the Mirror
All of us are blind in part. Some are blind to their strengths; others to their weaknesses.
You grow when you see yourself more clearly. Feedback wipes the steam from the mirror.
Giving feedback is saying what you see.
- I’m confused. Tell me more.
- That’s not what you said you were going to do.
- How is your response consistent with your intentions (values)?
- Your body language doesn’t match your words. What’s going on for you?
- I notice your energy go up (or down), what happened for you?
(What follows is an internal message between manager-coaches. Used by permission.)
Saying what you see feels like freedom although it’s not as easy as I thought. It takes courage.
I’ve been intentional about doing it more often. The thing that I am most scared about is if I share what I see and I’m totally off base or I offend the person.
Here are two circumstances where saying what I see has worked:
#1. I was in a meeting and saw frustration (silent, arms crossed, not engaged). I approached her after the meeting and told her what I saw. She confirmed her feelings – she opened up and we talked about what was making her feel that way. I asked her what she wants to do about it. We left with an action plan.
#2. I was in a meeting where I was focused on achieving the objective but it felt like there was not full agreement on why we wanted to achieve that objective. There was no direct opposition, just mild rebuttals and energy was low. I said what I saw and it opened up the meeting to explore their concerns and develop a plan.
How might leaders say what they see and speak what they feel? Concerns?
What happens when you’re off base or offensive?
The more leadership can lead conversations grounded in respect and genuine caring, the healthier the culture. Too often there is a shadow culture that doesn’t get addressed. Tough conversations that can lead to building better teams because their is a perceived lack of trust and caring by leadership. It’s up to the manager to learn how and when to have these types of conversations as well as finding ways to build respect, trust and transparency into all conversations.
Thanks Mim. I can’t help but think about the power of caring after reading your comment. Uncaring feedback creates resistance and resentment. Caring for people gives them the courage to open their hears. Cheers
I totally agree. Caring, trust and respect are foundational in leadership. As you demonstrate that you care and respect your employees and colleagues you are modeling behavior that leads to a healthy environment.
Thanks Pamela. Your inclusion of environment is another important aspect of giving feedback. What does the environment feel like? What patterns emerge as time passes. What is affirmed or rejected. All these things are pieces of the environment we create. Cheers
Excellent, practical illustrations – Thanks!
Everything is about change, we change, circumstances change, so as leaders and workers we have to be prepared to accept change!
We don’t have to embrace everything but most times we have to accept it unless you have the power to change it!
Often times the clearest vision has traveled the worst fog!
Thanks Tim. “Accept change.” Now that’s a novel idea. 🙂 In a changing world, if you don’t accept change you become irrelevant. Cheers.
In “saying what you see”, there must be intentional effort to confirm your personal claim to the OBSERVATION and request clarification or confirmation..”I see…”. Avoid loaded comments like “YOU are…”
Thanks Will. Just because you think you see it, doesn’t mean you are right. Great point. Cheers