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Feedback Mandatory

The Management Pocketbooks Pocket Correspondence Course

This is part of an extended management course. You can dip into it, or follow the course from the start. If you do that, you may want a course notebook, for the exercises and any notes you want to make.


’Feedback is the breakfast of champions’

This quote is most-often attributed to Ken Blanchard, but I have been unable to source it securely.  But its meaning is clear: It is a diet of good quality feedback that helps us grow and develop into top performers.

Feedback is the perfect accompaniment to goal-setting (which we looked at last week).  The two are so inter-twined and so fundamental that the very first Pocketblog started with an important experiment by Albert Bandura and Daniel Cervone that showed the power of these two in combination.

That post was called ‘Feedback Welcome’.  This one’s title is a nod in that direction, but takes it a step further.

As a manager, you have a responsibility to the people you manage and lead.  You must develop them, you must recognise their contributions and you must reward them for their effort.  Feedback is the principal way you can do that.

Feedback can be:

  1. Judgemental (‘what you did well/badly was…’) or
    Non-judgemental (‘I notice that what you did was… and this is what happened’)
  2. Positive (‘What you did that I liked was..’) or
    Negative (‘What I would like you to improve was…’)
  3. Outcome based (‘You got a really good result with…’) or
    Process based (‘I was impressed by the way that you…’)
  4. Comparative (‘Your work exceeded the standards for…’) or
    Absolute (‘Your work was excellent’)
  5. Personal (‘I want to thank you for your excellent work’) or
    Impersonal (‘You work met the highest standards’)

Give your Feedback a BOOST

Great feedback should give your colleagues a real BOOST.

Balanced
It will not be surprising to you to learn that, on all of the five scales above, balance is key.  Sticking to one style will rarely serve the person you are developing well.  Each pairing represents a spectrum of styles and you must select where on each spectrum to place the balance, to get best effect.  At different times and in different situations, a different point of balance will be appropriate.

Observed
Provide precise feedback based on genuine observation; rather than hearsay.  The more evidence you can offer and the more precise that evidence is; the better your colleague will be able to calibrate their performance and understand the implications of their choices.

Objective
By this, I mean that it is important to give feedback on performance, rather than on the person.  Compare these to examples of feedback:

‘The analysis you gave was confused.’

‘Your thinking was confused.’

The first is something I can fix and your feedback is based on something you can observe and evaluate.  The second, even if true is harder to fix, but critical; you have no direct evidence: my thinking may be logical and rigorous, but my writing style confused – or maybe I was distracted – or maybe…  The first can motivate me to sort out my work; the second will demotivate me, as I will feel it as a personal attack.

Specific
If my analysis was confused, I can only address it if I know how and where you assess my work to be confused.  The more specific your feedback, the easier it is for me to fix my work – or the easier it is for me to understand what parts are good.

Timely
Deliver your feedback as soon as appropriate  but not before. If the situation is not suitable, or if you do not have a robust basis for observed and specific feedback, then wait.  But only wait as long as is necessary.  Don’t put feedback off, or its value will diminish and may even be lost.

Further Reading 

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How high is your “Feedback Credibility Barometer?”

You should never take acceptance of your feedback for granted. Creating the conditions to encourage acceptance requires work and focus. Here are some thoughts from Feedback Pocketbook author, Mike Pezet’s presentation at the recent UK HRD conference in April 2010.

Manage your credibility barometer

Many managers underestimate the impact their credibility has on the value, interpretation and acceptance of their feedback.  Credibility is broadly composed of a manager’s perceived competence and trustworthiness.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/ell-r-brown/ / CC BY 2.0

With a high credibility barometer

· The feedback has perceived value

· The feedback will be more readily
..interpreted as intended

· The feedback will be accepted more readily

With a low credibility barometer

· The feedback has limited value

· Interpretation will be wide and may
..focus on motives for the feedback

· The feedback may be difficult to accept

How to drive up your barometer reading

Here are three things that Mike recommends you can do to increase the level of your credibility barometer and improve the acceptance of your feedback.

  1. Demonstrate awareness and appreciation for the challenges people face in their jobs, and the activities they undertake
  2. Notice and draw attention to what people do well
  3. Discuss the feedback relationship before you try and give your feedback

Manage your judgements

Another important aspect of your credibility and having people accept your feedback is the reliability of the judgements you make.  Overestimating the accuracy of your judgments is easily done, but inaccurate feedback won’t be recognised and accepted.  It may even cause people to re-evaluate your credibility.

Our judgement broadly focuses on two types of cause:

  1. Environmental causes
    You assess me in the light of things I cannot control, such as events and other people
  2. Personal, or internal, causes
    Aspects of who I am and the things I can directly control, such as my character and personal style

Here are four things you can do to become a better judge and encourage acceptance:

  1. Suspend your judgement!
  2. Consider the range of causes of their behaviour
  3. Enquire into and explore their perspective of the situation
  4. Review and evaluate the objective evidence

So here’s the deal

Above all, develop co-ownership of your feedback, by creating a feedback contract and discussing the feedback relationship.  Then, ensure that you base your feedback on the soundest possible judgement – always stay critical of your own judgement process.

Management Pocketbooks you may enjoy

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Come and see us next week

Management Pocketbooks are at the CIPD’s HRD Exhibition on 21 & 22 April, at Olympia.

HRD Excel 09 001571

We’d love to see you – come and visit us on stand 571.

There will be a blog soon on memory, but in the meantime, to help you remember the stand number, you can always picture Delia Smith or Sophie Dahl or Jamie Oliver or Heston Blumenthal (pick your favourite) ‘strive to make a
heavenly
bun
.

Buy five get one free

We’ll be selling all pocketbooks at a £1 discount (at £6.99 each) and for every five books you buy, you can pick another one free.  What better time to top up your collection?

What’s New?

If you are wondering how to use this offer, why not top up with new titles that weren’t born before the last HRD:

You might also like to update to a new edition.  In the last year, Pocketbooks authors have been hard at work updating and revising:

e-Pocketbooks

PBK-e-Library DVD (RED)Carry your Pocketbooks around on your phone or iPod Touch, have them on your laptop, or have a full set on disc.  We’ll be happy to talk with you about subscriptions to our whole portfolio of e-books – our e-Library – or buying single Pocketbooks in electronic format.  e-Pocketbooks.

If you cannot wait until 21 April, see our website for more information.

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Pocketbooks Live
‘I want to give you some feedback…..’

Mike Pezet, author of the new Feedback Pocketbook, will be presenting in the Learning Arena on Thursday 22 April from 15.00 to 15:45.  His presentation is: ‘I want to give you some feedback…..’.

Mike’s presentation will demonstrate simple ways to establish effective feedback relationships and encourage acceptance; highlight some basic mistakes; describe how to avoid feedback adding to the blame culture; and show how to avoid negative feedback situations.  All in 45 minutes.

Feedback

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