Dealing with the F-word.

06 september 2021

Question: do you give feedback to your employees or do you have feedback conversations with them?

At first sight, there might not seem to be much difference between the two, but in reality there is!

Let’s take an example; Your employee Rita has been stretching out her lunch breaks to the breaking point (no pun intented). It’s inconsiderate, creates frustration within the team, and you want her to stop doing it.

Now if you’d *give* Rita feedback you might end up saying something along the lines of “Rita, look, you’re taking way too much time during your lunch breaks and I’d appreciate it if you could be more mindful.”

Would that be overly harsh? Not necessarily.

Will your feedback inspire Rita to step up and do better. Maybe.
But probably not enthusiastically so.

The thing about "giving" someone feedback is that you miss out on a whole bunch of opportunities.

In the example above, Rita doesn’t get a chance to consider her own behavior.

She doesn’t get to understand the consequences of her lunch escapades.
She doesn’t get to explain why she’s been behaving this way.
She doesn’t get encouraged to take ownership.

Rita gets stripped from a lot of power, really.

And who enjoys that?

Now if you’d be having a feedback conversation with Rita, the scenario might look a little different.  Because rather than “dumping” your thoughts on her, you’d engage in a dialogue in which you’d ask questions, listen, and try to understand why Rita has been so indulgent during breaks lately.

This would get her involved with the issue, make her feel heard, and offer you a chance to understand what’s been going on with her too.

You would also have a better shot at getting Rita to change her behavior. (Yes, perhaps even enthusiastically so!)

Ultimately, the goal of feedback is getting someone to become more conscious of their own actions and encourage them to take ownership, so things can improve.

Or simply put: Why give someone the fish when you could be teaching them how to fish for themselves instead?

So, are you ready to evolve from giving feedback to having feedback conversations with your employees?

Good luck!

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