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Feedback for Team Members Who Are Pretty Good

Updated: Nov 5, 2020

If you’re a leader, you probably have several people on your team who are pretty good at what they do. And maybe they’ve been around a while.

Pretty good people keep you sane

They don’t cause you a lot of pain and you don’t lose sleep worrying about how they might screw things up. They’re good, solid contributors you can count on.

You may have one or two weak performers as well, and you are just grateful that the pretty good team members add, rather than subtract, sanity to your life.

Your feedback to pretty good performers

Since you appreciate your pretty good folks a lot, you regularly praise their work. However, you haven’t much reflected on how they could be even better in their roles. Actually, you may be depriving them of the experience of getting even better in their jobs and increasing their career potential if you never offer feedback that could challenge them to learn new ways of working.

For instance, Mel has developed some expertise in the software application his team normally uses. Being told by his boss Shawn that he’s her “lifesaver” by handling the program for her makes him feel proud and confident.

But this year Shawn asked Mel to stretch by learning the more advanced and complex functions of the program and create new efficiencies that could save the group even more time and money. It took Mel several weeks to use the new functions and at first it seemed to be a waste of time. But soon, Mel mastered the new skills, applied them and felt even prouder about his technical knowledge than ever before. He was producing great measurable results for the company and he felt that his career had a brighter future!

3 tricks to challenging pretty good performers

1. Maintain a focus on what they are already doing well and continue to appreciate those things. Example:

Mel—You are great at handling the functions we’re now using in the software. But now, it’s time to discuss the upgraded capabilities and how we can put some of these to good use. I think you can master these in the next month.

2. Be quick to praise the new learning.

Great that you’ve already been testing out some of the new features this week. I have confidence that you’ll be successful in bringing us these new benefits!

3. Include both new and old skills in your positive feedback.

I really value your expertise in the basic functions these past few years, and now you are adding a lot of new value in reducing costs and making us more efficient.

As a leader, you can continuously realize value from your feedback skills and you look for continuous improvement opportunities from everyone—including your good performers.

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