Dear Chantal

Providing effective feedback is fundamental to building and sustaining high-performance organisations and teams.

The March issue of REACH! from amplia takes a look at why feedback is critical for the ongoing success of your people and your organisation and suggests ways to improve the quality of the feedback that you provide.

Before we look at the essentials of feedback, let’s consider a couple of points. Firstly, we see feedback as a two-way process; it’s not the communication of opinions from one person to another. Rather, it is a discussion in which both parties contribute. It is an opportunity for new learning for you, your team and for your organisation. It’s a chance to explore options and develop action plans to achieve results.

Secondly, we believe all feedback is positive because it is intended to help and improve an individual’s or your team’s performance. The growth of your people equates to a positive and successful future for your organisation.

Best wishes

Trese Rowe

Reaching Your Potential – Do I Need Feedback?

Do your people know whether they are making progress or not?

In many organisations the answer to this question is no, unless there is a reason that an individual may have been reprimanded. Of course, many successful organisations have a performance management system that involves a performance appraisal on an annual basis, at least. This is a great start, but it’s not enough. A year is a long time to let performance languish. And don’t think a comment like, ‘my boss leaves me to get on with it’, is any kind of recommendation either. If individuals aren’t clear on how they are performing, how can they be held accountable for any kind of performance improvement? Quality feedback, communicated in a timely manner, is essential for the health of any organisation or team.

Feedback allows your team to get answers to these simple, yet important questions:

  • How am I doing?

  • What can I do to improve?

Together you can explore these questions, to reinforce their progress and to suggest ways they can improve their performance. Using a simple structure on a regular basis, you and your team can review previous goals, identify new goals and create action plans to achieve the set goals.

Feedback is a key to successful teams dynamics and growth and without it sustained performance improvement becomes elusive.

Reaching Out – Providing Quality Feedback

Improving the quality of your feedback is a positive step toward further developing your team.  Here are six simple feedback guidelines that will help:

1. Describe the situation not the person. Look at the individual’s actions or behaviour in the area under review, not them as an individual. People can sometimes get defensive when they feel that feedback is personal. For example, telling someone they are ‘disorganised’ is far more inflammatory and unconstructive than describing how deadlines are routinely missed.

2. Describe the effect. Help the individual see the effect or impact their actions are having on the situation.

3. Reinforce the positive; explore alternatives. Invite and suggest ways in which the individual could improve or do things more effectively. Make him or her aware of the desired outcome.

4. Be specific. Know what’s expected and be clear about what you are looking for. Give examples. Saying something was ‘great’ is not enough; what made it ‘great’? Remember, you want high-value activities to be repeated and those with less positive impact to be eliminated.

5. Seek, as well as give information. Ask questions. Explore options. Encourage self discovery in the individual, for them to come up with alternatives to improve their own performance.

6. Restate the goal. Sometimes the simplest way of helping an individual identify what can be improved is to remind him/her of the objective, or desired outcome.  Review the steps, agree on an action plan and arrange for follow-up feedback sessions.

Next month, continuing our quest to ‘advance individual accountability’, we’ll explore facilitating self discovery and how to help your people find their own solutions. 

Reach Resources

Here is our recommended reading list for further information on Feedback and Performance Improvement:

Coaching and Feedback for Performance(Leading from the Centre) by Duke Corporate Education is a practical guide that shows managers step-by-step how to develop existing and new talent within an organisation.

Coaching through Effective Feedback: Increasing Performance through Successful Communication by Paul J. Jerome offer ideas for improvement and to build your working relationships through successful communication.

Giving and Receiving Performance Feedback by Peter Garber.

Giving Feedback (Pocket Mentor) Harvard Business School Press is a practical guide showing managers how to develop and refine this necessary skill of feedback, to help people perform better at work.

amplia Consulting Ltd
Rosewood House
The Coombe
Tel: 01491 871 203

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