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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:



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