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If Your New Year’s Resolution Is To Give Feedback—First, Explain What You Are Doing!

Updated: Nov 3, 2020

Are you firing me? If you start giving feedback without warning, team members may assume that they’re about to be fired or put on a performance-improvement plan. They may not know that you’re setting up feedback meetings with everyone, and they’ll search for reasons why they are being singled out: “Why is she focusing on me all of a sudden?”

This is a predictable and normal concern. Even if you’re setting up meetings with each person in your group, individuals may not see that, and they may experience unnecessary stress over the thought that their performance is not up to par. At best, they may think you’re planning to lay off several employees at the same time! So, let’s not go there.

Tell everyone at the same time. All of these unpleasant scenarios can be prevented if you tell your whole team what you are up to—at the same time. While you could send the details about your new campaign to give more feedback in an email memo, it’s way less effective than telling them live—in a group meeting—with everyone hearing the same words at the same time. With a memo, it’s likely that individuals will start wandering the halls asking one another, “What the [bleep] is going on here? I wonder if this is our boss’s improvement plan and she’s being told to do this by HR.”

Then bring it up in conversations with each team member Talk to each person in your group when you see them next. Explain your plans, how often you’d like to exchange feedback, and emphasize that you welcome feedback from them. Start scheduling feedback meetings for the first go-round. After people see it’s not such a big deal, be open to exchanging feedback anywhere and anytime there is a useful coaching moment.

Big change, but worth it The move to frequent feedback is a big culture change, as it is really, really different than how things usually work in companies. The good news about the move to feedback, however, is that once you and your group really do it, you will like it and benefit greatly!

The Feedback Imperative book

Learn More

Read The Feedback Imperative for more information on how to give great feedback!

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