In the first part of this feature for team leaders on giving effective feedback that motivates people, we presented the evidence that feedback can motivate, and increase your bottom line and considered the basic components of how to construct feedback. (Missed it? Read it here.) In part 2, we continue with our leadership tips series with the 9 ways to make sure the feedback you’re giving motivates!
5. In public? This one comes down to knowing who you’re talking to! Some people literally grow 2 inches in height when they are given praise in public, others shrink 2 inches. If the aim of giving this feedback is to motivate people, then giving it in public might not be the best way to go. I enjoy positive feedback as much as the next person, but I find accepting it in very public settings very uncomfortable. So, think about who you’re talking to. And remember, if you do give public feedback – make sure it’s not always directed at one person!
6. No sandwiches. I know some people like the ‘say something nice, deliver the criticism, say something nice again’ approach. In my opinion, that is lazy feedback giving. It’s designed to make the giver feel better, not help the receiver of the message. Some people hearing the sandwich will get bored and switch off, others will ignore the positive and only hear the negative, whilst another group will hear the positive and ignore the negative. I worked with one lady who’s line manager only relied on the so called criticism sandwich, she told me that every time she hears praise at work now, she waits for the ‘kick’ that comes after it. That’s no way to motivate people.
7. End it well! The human brain has a tendency to remember the first and last things it hears. You could spend hours crafting great feedback, and then de-value it by ending with “right then, back to work” – that’s the last thing people will remember. So think carefully about the last statement you make. Then pause before you move onto the back to work bit.
8. Handwritten. As a trainer I’m lucky I get feedback at the end of every course, but on one occasion a delegate gave me a handwritten card at the end of the course. Our feedback forms are logged on the computer and then shredded, but I still treasure that card. I know of other people who have been sent letters from their senior managers with positive feedback and a bonus. In most cases the bonus quickly disappears, but the letter is kept. Why not consider putting your well structured, specific feedback in a letter – I can almost guarantee it will be valued.
9. Do it often. I so often see in UK workplaces, feedback is easily forgotten – I’d like to see us developing a ‘feedback habit’. How do we do that? I remember reading an article once that challenged you to give positive feedback 3 times every day. Now, I love a game and this felt like it could be fun. After all, just 3 times a day isn’t too much to ask. So I started it. I’d look for 3 things each day to give positive feedback on. And do you what I found – I went home feeling happier, because I knew I’d contributed to 3 people smiling that day. Like anything in life, the more you do it, the more of a habit it becomes. So my challenge to you – can you make 3 positive feedback comments every day!
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