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Giving feedback to your manager December 12, 2008

Posted by rickbron in Bronder On People, Feedback, Management, Managing up, Performance issues.
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The Big Dogz always welcome feedback. Even when the Big Dogz are in a management position, they openly request and value feedback. Giving feedback is easy when the manager asks you for it. Not all managers are like the Big Dogz! Sometimes it is difficult to give your manager feedback, especially when they are not open to the notion of getting feedback.

 

The problem may be the way you deliver feedback. Most people are reluctant to receive ineffectively presented feedback. Most people are happy to receive constructive feedback. Effective feedback is about a result or a behavior that affects a result. It is not personal. When you give feedback, be specific and cite examples. Avoid labels — both positive and negative labels. Statements like “You were really professional in that presentation” or “You looked unprepared in that presentation” are not useful and do not tell the recipient exactly what is your feedback.

 

Examples of effective feedback are:

  • Our objective was to address the objections of the customer. In the presentation you made to the customer, I saw you use sarcasm in response to a question the customer had. You said …
  • I know you are working to be an effective coach. In our last session, you identified three specific actions I could take to improve my performance. I appreciate your focus on helping me.
  • Our relationship is important to me. I get frustrated when you raise your voice when correcting me. Yesterday when I showed my progress report, you shouted at me.

 

Here are three ways to approach your manager if you have effective feedback for them:

 

Ask them directly if they want feedback.

Before you approach the manager, make sure you have at least one positive piece of feedback to deliver. The first step is to get the manager alone and ask, “Would you like some feedback?”  Pay special attention to how the manager answers your question. If you get an uninterested or frustrated “Yeah, what?” kind of response, deliver your positive feedback and move on. Obviously, this manager is not really interested in getting feedback from you. If you are fortunate and work for one of the Big Dogz, they will respond in a positive and eager way, encouraging you to provide the feedback. When you get this response, give the positive feedback then any corrective feedback you may have.

 

Ask them for feedback on how you are contributing to the manager employee relationship.

If you are not comfortable asking your manager if they want feedback, then ask them to give you feedback about your relationship. An example of this question is “I value our relationship as manager and employee and I want to make sure I am contributing to that relationship. Could you please give me some specific feedback on how I am doing?”

 

The manger will undoubtedly have some feedback for you. Some of it will be positive, some of it corrective. Whenever the manager gives you the feedback, listen to what they say and respond with “Thank you”.

 

Once the manager is complete, thank them for taking the time to help you. If your manager is paying attention, they will ask you for feedback on how they are doing. Now you can deliver your feedback.

 

Ask them to coach you on a behavior you think they need to improve.

This is an effective technique to use with a manager not open to feedback. You identify a specific behavior you want the manager to change, and then you ask them to help you avoid the behavior. Your manager may be constantly interrupting you in meetings. Using this approach, you would ask the manager to help you reduce interrupting others in meetings. Ask the manager to give you specific tips or techniques that will help you to reduce this behavior. If the manager keeps interrupting you, go back and ask for more coaching — ask them how they would stop interrupting. It may take awhile, but this technique will work with your dedication.

 

Giving feedback to someone who does not request it is difficult. The Big Dogz know if they are flexible in process, they will eventually succeed in getting that feedback to the manager. Try these approaches and let me know how it works for you. Email me rbronder@gmail.com

 

 

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Performance feedback September 22, 2008

Posted by rickbron in Bronder On People, Coaching, Diagnosing performance problems, Fixing performance problems, Management, Performance issues.
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p5130012.jpg Most of us are familiar with the adage, practice makes perfect. And, most of us would be wrong! The Big Dogz know that it is feedback that makes perfect and that practice makes permanent. There are two types of feedback that you provide to an employee. The first of these is behavior feedback — that is how an employee is behaving. You generally do not give behavior feedback unless the behavior is affecting an employee’s performance or the performance of others. If the behavior is not affecting performance, you may consider asking permission to give behavior feedback. It is like giving someone advice.

 

The most common type of feedback you give an employee is performance feedback. Not only do you not have to ask permission to give this type of feedback, it is your responsibility and obligation to provide this feedback. Here are a few fundamental principles about performance feedback:

 

  1. Feedback is always linked to an objective. It is about a specific result you have asked the employee to achieve.
  2. Frequency of feedback is dependent upon the performance level of the employee. When performance is low, feedback is more frequent.
  3. Feedback is most effective when it is balanced. This does not mean you give them the classic “feedback sandwich” — something good, something negative and something good. Most employees know that traditional management training recommends this approach — and they flinch when the manager gives them positive feedback because they know the “but” is coming. By balanced, I mean give positive feedback as often, if not more often, than you give corrective feedback.
  4. Timeliness of feedback has a direct correlation to the motivational value and the learning associated with the feedback. The closer you provide feedback to the actual result, the more effective that feedback is.
  5. Effective feedback is consistent. That means when you give feedback, you follow a repeatable process and your employees know what to expect. In fact, after a few iterations through your feedback process, they will be able to do it themselves. Here is such a process:

 

         State the objective and get the employee to agree that is their objective.

         Ask for their observation on how they are doing

         Give your observation of specific data related to the objective

         If this is corrective feedback, ask, “What are you going to do?” Stay away from “What can we do?”  You want them to own the action plan

         If the feedback is positive, then pursue how you could leverage this accomplishment for more visibility or opportunity for the employee.

         What help do you need from me

         Offer suggestions on how they can accomplish the objective

         Get them to summarize the action plan

         Set follow up meeting to discuss progress — to give them more feedback

         Ask them if there is anything else you they to know

         Encourage them

 

The Big Dogz know that by following this or a customized process like this one, your feedback skills will grow and you can help your employees become “perfect”.