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?