Feedback Can Be Fun!
Updated: Nov 6
Feedback conversations are usually in the yuck category of your duties as a manager. They’re on the bottom of your preferred list for how to spend your time. But the reason for the yuck is the fact that you’ve probably delayed getting real with people for so long.
Once you start up authentic and frequent chats with people, feedback is more fun and even something you look forward to.
For one thing, most people you’ve started giving feedback to are already improving. So you have a lot of positive things to say to them, and you mean it sincerely. That is fun for you. They’re usually proud of themselves for having a better impact on the business. And that is fun for them.
They’re happy with the process so far, and way more eager to hear more from you than when you first suggested a feedback conversation. They may even be smiling and laughing the next time you meet, because they feel closer to you and more lighthearted about the whole thing. Your team members see that you took their feedback to you seriously and they may want to give you a pat on the back as well. Brain science guru David Rock points out in his article Managing with the Brain in Mind (insert mag in italics and date) that rising to a challenge you provide by, say, learning a new skill, lights up the same part of the brain as does winning money! How much fun is that?
You are being fair and transparent now that you are giving everyone feedback and receiving it back from everyone as well. They can trust you to continue being honest with them. The perception that you are fair, in David Rock’s brain map, lights up in the same location of the brain as is correlated with the eating of chocolate! Bingo–you don’t even have to pass out chocolate candies at your next meeting.
How can you make your future feedback chats even more fun?
Invite them to creatively envision future success with you. Let the conversation flow freely as you come up with great images of your team being wildly successful six or nine months down the road and each of you contributing to it. Creativity invites playfulness and laughter.
Use brainstorming to come up with solutions and new behaviors that address problems and build success. The rules of brainstorming equalize the two of you, forbid judgements, and invite the pleasures of idea generation. More fun.
Get to know their personal interests, hobbies, and values more. The honesty you’ve shared between the two of you will build greater rapport and appreciation that goes both ways. More rapport, or “likeability,” leads to a release of feel-good brain chemicals usually associated with bonds between close friends. Again, more fun.
Effective feedback makes things better and better as you and your employees get comfortable with it and see the power in it!