In this second VLOG I am revisiting feedback and I would like to share two top tips for preparing to give feedback
1. CALIBRATE FOR RECEPTIVITY
As I talk through the different levels of receptivity have in mind the person you need to give the feedback to and yourself because you may need to work on your own receptivity?
WE’LL START WITH FEEDBACK THIMBLES
A thimble receptivity level means the person can take just about a thimble full of feedback. That’s praise or constructive feedback!
It could be argued they are self-referenced, setting their own standards and measuring themselves against them.
You might find that even when you give developmental feedback carefully and empathetically their brain filters only for criticism and they may react defensively.
When praising thimbles you may see a shoulder shrug and hear ‘it’s just my job’. The results of this type of response are that people are less likely to want to give feedback.
Being receptive to only a thimble level of feedback can lead to a person having a blind spot that no-one tells them about.
If a thimble is internally referenced a bucket is likely to be externally referenced. In other words, they gauge whether they are doing OK by asking or gathering the reactions of others. The upside is they are up for feedback – lots of it. The only problem is it can slop over the sides of the bucket and not be acted upon.
Giving people quantity instead of quality priority feedback means they may not focus on the area that is going to make the biggest impact for them.
This is what to aspire to in terms of being receptive to feedback yourself. You’ll be good at receiving feedback because you listen carefully, ask for examples, proactively suggest what you might do differently and check in over time to see if you are having a better impact.
You’re a pleasure to give feedback to because you delight in the positive feedback and can say a simple thank you to the giver and you’re grateful for thoughtfully given developmental feedback which you take in adult mode. You impress the feedback giver by sharing your plan for what you will do differently and again, you simply thank the person. It’s so often the case that you enhance your reputation by the graciousness with which you receive feedback that is hard to hear.
GIVING FEEDBACK TO A THIMBLE
Think carefully about time and place for the discussion. Ensure you only have 1-2 pieces to give. Invest in giving the person well observed praise over time to ensure they respect you as a source of feedback. Encourage self-assessment first, allow them time to mull over the feedback and ensure there is a strong WIFM (What is in it for me) factor.
GIVING FEEDBACK TO A BUCKET
Apply the same approach as for a thimble, emphasise self-assessment and spend time hearing how they are going to use the developmental feedback and offer follow up observation and comment. The ratio of praise needs to be stepped up too.
GIVING FEEDBACK TO A TUMBLER
Take a best practice approach and enjoy their reaction when you give praise and follow up with your appreciation of the adjustments they make if you have given them developmental feedback.
SECOND TOP TIP – HIT THE SWEET SPOT!
Those of you who play sport with a bat, racket or club will know exactly what’s meant by the sweet spot. It’s that magic point which the ball hits and seems to really soar.
Here’s how to have the same impact when giving positive feedback.
LET’S ANALYSE DIFFERENT TYPES OF POSITIVE FEEDBACK
Flattery – Sounds like this ‘Ooooh you are so good at presenting, wish I was as good as you.’ Somehow flattery never really feels like a valued statement.
Compliments – ‘That was an enjoyable presentation. You sounded great’. There is no problem with this type of feedback, but it won’t have hit the sweet spot.
Praise – ‘That presentation was well delivered, I found it clear and concise and you handled the questions well.’ Hmm, I am starting to like this type of feedback, but can we go one stage further?
Hitting the sweet spot – Value Based Praise – Sounds something like this –
‘That presentation was well delivered. The way you structured your points and then called for action has resulted in five people signing up to support our cause.’
This is VALUES BASED PRAISE. Back to the iceberg. Remember values drive behaviour. If the person who received this feedback had a value that they wanted to make a difference, then the way the feedback has been formed has absolutely told them that that is what they have done. It’s a great feeling when what is important to you becomes the outcome!
TOP TIPS FOR GIVING VALUES BASED PRAISE
Look at the behaviour that you want to give positive praise about.
Ask yourself, what is the person using the positive behaviour trying to do with regard to fulfilling or protecting a value they hold? Then link their value into the feedback you give.
So statements like
“You’re a great listener” become – “the way you listened to us really allowed us space and time to get some important things out into the open and we feel so much better for it and will be able to change how we work together.’
A WORD OF CAUTION
If the constructive feedback you give is going to go against a value that someone holds dear the reaction you get will show that. Take even more care here. I will never forget the pain of being told in a 360 that I’m unapproachable, given a key value I hold is that I want to make people feel good. Once I got over the initial piercing arrow and explored more it turned out that yes, when I am deeply concentrating I don’t seem to notice people have approached me and so there is no look up and smile. So, digging deeper into the perception of others helped me to get a perspective that I am not ALWAYS unapproachable and to think about my impact if I have zoned out.
Good Luck in your feedback situation.
ABOUT DRAWN TO LEARN
Jackie Forbes is the Principal of Drawn to Learn and is an established facilitator trained in and practicing Appreciative Inquiry. Her international career has led her to design and deliver workshops and development programmes within numerous well-known companies and organisations. As a skilled practitioner in traditional facilitation and Graphic Facilitation she specialises in designing and delivering Appreciative Inquiry sessions.
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