How to Kick Mediocrity to the Curb
Timely feedback kicks mediocrity to the curb.
Yes, you need the facts to give feedback, but powerful feedback includes heart.
7 ways to give feedback:
#1. Describe behaviors. Listen for commitments or excuses.
“I notice you were late to the last three meetings.”
Commitment includes resolve.
Committed people say, “You’re right. I need to pay closer attention to the clock.”
Respond to commitment with encouragement, clarification, and support.
“Thanks for saying that, what might you do to pay closer attention to the clock?” Add, “How can I help?”
An excuse is justification.
Excuse-makers say, “I’m late because I’m busy.”
Gently confront excuses. “It seems like you’re saying it’s OK to be late for meetings.” Avoid chasing excuses. Stay on topic.
#2. Describe behaviors. Ask for clarification.
“I noticed you leaned back and crossed your arms, what’s going on for you?”
#3. Describe impact.
“When you text in meetings, you seem disrespectful.”
#4. Describe impression.
“I could be wrong.* It seems like you don’t care when you give short responses.”
#5. Say what you feel.
“It feels like something isn’t right. What’s going on for you?”
It takes courageous vulnerability to give feedback from the heart. Keep in mind that you could be wrong. Don’t be attached to your feedback when you express feelings.
#6. Say what you see when pointing out feelings.
“I notice you smiled when we talked about your latest project.”
“What’s making you happy?”
Describe what you notice when people seem unhappy, resistant, happy, enthusiastic, frustrated or fulfilled.
#7. Speak directly if there’s no discussion.
“You have to show up for work on time.”
*Soften confrontations with, “I could be wrong.” The exception is #7 in the list.
Don’t use ‘but’. For example, “I could be wrong, but … .” Instead, make direct statements. “I could be wrong. It seems like you struggle in this area.”
How might leaders give feedback that kicks mediocrity to the curb?
In case you missed the weekend posts:
SOLUTION SATURDAY: RETIREMENT AGE EMPLOYEES ARE COASTING
SUNDAY: THE FIVE COMPONENTS OF NEGATIVE LEADERSHIP
If we come from the heart and tell the truth, there is no reason to deviate. Surely how we present things with proper wording makes a difference, it amazing if you change a few key words the message seems less commanding, yet more receptive to those listening.
Thanks Tim. I’ve develop the habit of saying, “I could be wrong.” First of all, it’s true. Second, it’s more open.
Variations include, “I”m not sure, ….” or “Maybe I don’t see the whole picture, ….”
I have used“I could be wrong.”myself, looks like Is should be added to my standard protocol, I firmly believe becoming more open allows others realize we have nothing to hide!
In a case like this, make sure you are ready for an answer you don’t like!
When asked why he was late for a meeting, a former colleague told our supervisor that he thought it was more effective to spend his time “baking a bigger cake than sitting in another meeting arguing over how to cut the existing cake into ever-smaller slices”.
Does your meeting resemble Lyndon Johnson’s description of a speech on economics: “like p*ssing down your leg. It seems hot to you, but it never does to anyone else.”?