Feedback - Make it Descriptive
Have you ever heard yourself say to a team member - "You'rereally great" - "You're a star" - I think you're brilliant"- "You're doing a great job!"
It's got to be a plus point that you're giving ConfirmingFeedback and there's nothing intrinsically wrong with any ofthe statements above; however, they could be better. Thereis also the danger that these statements could come acrossas a bit patronising.
Managers who find it a bit difficult to give Confirmingfeedback might also feel uncomfortable with these types ofstatements.
One of the other reasons for giving Confirming Feedback isto get more of the same behaviour; the statements above maynot ensure that. Let me give you and example of what I mean.
Fred has just submitted a report which you're pleased withand you decide to tell him so - "That's a great report Fred;you're brilliant at writing reports!"
But what made the report great and why is Fred so brilliantat writing them?It would have been better to say - "I liked the way youstructured that report Fred, the words you used and the useof diagrams made it easy for me to understand. Thank you forthe time you have obviously put into it."Fred now knows what it is you like about his report and ismore likely to write it in a similar way in the future.
This is what we call being Descriptive. You are describingto the team member what you saw or heard that you liked.This carries much more weight than a - "Well done!" Managers who are uncomfortable with Confirming Feedback findthis easier to do because it takes the "emotion" out of thestatement. There is also less risk of sounding patronising.
It's even more important to use descriptive statements whenyou see or hear something you're not happy with.
This is where we need to do a lot more thinking and a lotless reacting.
It's so easy to react when a team member does or sayssomething we don't like. We say things like - "You've gotthe wrong attitude!"- "You're hopeless!" - "That was astupid way to deal with that situation!" - "You'll need toshape up!" - "You're not very responsible!"Statements like these will only get the team members back upand won't get the change in behaviour you want.
Let's say that one of your team turns up late for the thirdtime in a week. You decided to ignore the first two latesituations but this third time has made you angry. You mightsay - "You've got the wrong attitude to this job, you'realways late and I'm not having it. If you're late againyou'll receive an official warning."
That statement is not descriptive, it's reactive. Itstresses you, it de-motivates the team member and it'sunlikely to resolve the situation. A descriptive statementwould be - "I'm unhappy with the fact that you've been latefor work three times this week. I'm willing to hear yourreasons for being late and agree with you how we can preventthis happening in the future."
You're letting the team member know that you're not preparedto accept their lateness but you're willing to hear theirside of the story.When you describe performance you are focussing on specificbehaviour. You describe what you see and what you hear inclear terms that the team member can also see, hear andunderstand.
If you're not prepared to accept that then you need to tellthem so. However, you may wish to make a judgement call andaccept their timekeeping. At the end of the day it comesback to outcomes - are they producing the results? You mayhave to consider how their timekeeping affects the othermembers of the team.
I've only talked about lateness here however there are manyother situations where you'll be required to give someProductive Feedback and coach people. It could be the waythe team member speaks to a customer or a colleague. Itcould be for failing to produce the required results.Whatever it is, using descriptive statements and coachingthe individual will resolve the situation in terms of yourinterests and the team members.
Discover how you can generate more business by motivatingyour team!Alan Fairweather is the author of "How to get More Salesby Motivating Your Team" This book is packed with practicalthings you can do to get the best out of your people. Click here now http://www.howtogetmoresales.com
One Bad Apple
One Bad AppleI know what you are thinking but no, I am not doing atribute to Michael Jackson and the Jackson 5. Although I will admit that their hit song from the 70's keeps rolling around in my mind as I type this. While the Jackson Five might have believed that "One bad apple can't spoil the wholebunch" I don't think that they were responsible for getting high quality production results from their bunch. The fact is, in business one bad apple can make your life and the life of the people who work for you, pretty miserable, reduce production from your organization, and even cost you good employees.The "one bad apple" that I'm referring to of course, is that one bad employee in your department who drags everyone down with them. I'm not talking about the employee who is temporarily struggling with their productivity. A lot of employees go through that problem from time to time. With training and coaching, theseare potentially very productive employees. And I'm not talking about that the employee who is going through some personal problems and is struggling to keep their business and personal lives separate. This is also a temporary situation that usually rectifies itself relatively quickly. Instead I'm talking about theemployee who seems to have made it their personal mission in life to be unhappy, and to ensure that everyone else around them is just as unhappy as they are. These "bad apples" come in various shapes and sizes, all kinds of different backgrounds, and all different levels of experience. You have the:· Information hog - who hides key information about their tasks and projects· Martyr - whose assignments are always more difficult than any else· Bully - who intimidates all those around them· Professional Devils Advocate - who never met a concept that they actually liked, but they will gladly take credit for any concept that actually works· Company/Management Haters - who spend all of their free time telling anyone who will listen (and many that won't) how bad and evil the Company and Management Team really is· Slacker - who never really seems to do anything, but is always telling everyone how busy and overworked they are Generally speaking, it's not hard to tell if you have a bad apple in your group. They do tend to stand out. They wear their misery with pride. All kinds of bad things happen to them routinely, but the problems are never their fault. And anyone who is nearby (and some who aren't so nearby) will hear about it. The problem is not that they are miserable. The problem is that they make everyoneelse miserable as well. Sometimes it's pretty blatant. They actively incite or intimidate those around them so that no one has a comfortable working environment. They get their power by sucking the life out of people around them and they know exactly how to do that.As a leader, your team looks for you to lead and to remove obstacles that can keep them from being productive. This bad apple is an obstacle and how effectively you deal with them is a barometer that your staff will measure you by. The place to start is with Performance Management and measuring their productivity. But don't limit Performance Management to production only. Remember that all members of the team are responsible for soft skills as wellas hard skills and that an employee who produces acceptable numbers but doesn't share information, or bullies those around them is still a Performance Management problem. Manage the soft skills the same you manage the hard skills, with detailed Performance Plans. Remember, even if they play key role in your department one bad apple can spoil the whole bunch, for everyone. Work closely with your HR representative to ensure that you are in compliance with both company policy and federal law, but you must remove them. And speaking of HR reps, take a minute to think about yours. A good HR rep is worth their weight in gold. A good HR rep will help you in identifying problem employees when the issues go beyond straight production. They will also work with you to ensure that you are working the issues both legally and that your conclusions are based on fact and not emotion. A good HR rep is also a boon for the employees, because they will work with the employees to improve their performance by identifying problems before they become severe. If you are one of the lucky ones that have been blessed with a good HR rep, then take the time to thank them for their work. Being an HR rep is a thankless job, and never more so than when they are doing the right things by being actively involved inresolving problems.
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