Noticing – Not Feedback – Enhances Performance and Elevates Satisfaction

“People don’t want feedback, they want attention.” (Nine Lies About Work)

Feedback is valid when assessment is accurate, and numbers are involved.

Feedback about traits is arrogant because we don’t know people. Tell people how they occur to you. Don’t say, “You’re a curious person.” Say, “I notice you ask questions that make people think.”

Necessary numbers:

“We need to deliver 100 widgets by the end of the week,” can be measured and is a candidate for accurate feedback. But, “You need more initiative,” is frustrating, ambiguous, and ineffective.

Managers might be able to measure the results of initiative, but managers can’t measure or give feedback on initiative.

When you say someone has initiative, you are reflecting on behaviors and making assumptions about motivations. But your assumptions are probably wrong.

Choose noticing over traditional feedback:

Telling people what we think of their performance doesn’t help them thrive and excel, and telling people how we think they should improve actually hinders learning. (HBR)

Elevate job satisfaction and enhance job performance by noticing.

5 things to notice:

  1. “I notice your energy goes up when ….”
  2. “I notice that people always want you on their team.”
  3. “I notice that you always follow-up.”
  4. “I notice that your projects always come in on time.”
  5. “I notice that your team loves taking on challenges.”

2 rules for noticing:

  1. Notice behaviors that express values.
  2. Notice strengths that produce results.

The pronouns of noticing:

The pronouns of noticing are “I” and “me”. Tell people how they occur to YOU.

Say, “When you encouraged Wilma, I thought, ‘That’s the stuff that helps us become a great place to work.’”

Say, “The questions you asked during our meeting make me want you in our meetings.”

Today’s challenge: Schedule a noticing walk-about today.

What gets noticed gets repeated.

What’s on your noticing list?