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Having Fun with Feedback

Updated: Nov 6, 2020

Fun and feedback appear to have very little in common. If you are a manager, the whole thought of having to give feedback to people may be your least favorite part of the job.

But if you get creative, you can stir up some positive associations to help your brain find giving and receiving feedback enjoyable for you and your employees. Going over the positive aspects of frequent, honest feedback will motivate you to do it now and stop procrastinating.

#1 Create RELAXATION: If you do it frequently, people will trust you more and you will feel more comfortable talking with each individual on your team.

If you give people honest, helpful feedback, they will see that you are not trying to hurt, humiliate, or fire them. Instead, they will experience you as a positive coach with a positive intention to help them shine on the job. No one is dancing around a tough issue. You’ve said it. You’ve invited them to give you feedback back. The two of you have discussed solutions and now you can relax. You can laugh and even tease each another. There is nothing to fear

#2 Create ENTHUSIASM: If you focus your feedback on future opportunities for success, your team member is all ears.

Once the two of you calm down and see feedback sessions as conversations about the employee can win in the future, it’s fascinating. Only refer to the past enough to see what changes the two of you want to see made in the future. If you make it about the future, you open up a huge motivation to succeed. The other person is thinking,  “Now I know what I want to do differently. And I’m gonna do it really really well!” You’ve just unleashed enthusiasm. As you brainstorm more and more things that will have a winning impact, everyone gets more enthusiastic.

#3 Create POSITIVE EXCITEMENT: Challenges that people see as do-able are exciting!

David Rock in his article, “Managing with the Brain In Mind” (strategy + business, August 29, 2009) points to brain science research showing that feedback that helps people see things that they:

  1. Need to do differently AND

  2. Feel they can master

This lights up the parts of the brain associated with pleasure and positive excitement.

#4 Create CONNECTION: Frequent, authentic conversations with each person are the super-positive glue they’ve been seeking.

You will appreciate one another more. You will get to know each other’s interests, personal goals, and vulnerabilities after exchanging your honest perceptions and making requests. You won’t feel as stiff and distant. Seeing the other person as a real person connects you at a deeper level. This unleashes the same positive brain chemicals that are at work when close friends gather and spend time together, or when family members bond and enjoy one another. Younger and your most talented employees are screaming for this kind of connection according the Gallup employee engagement surveys and much other research.

You’re finding the good stuff in feedback.  All about happiness.  Now that you know that feedback can be fun, what’s possible for you as a feedback-giving leader to accomplish?

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