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Start Your Feedback Workout Program with Easy People

Updated: Nov 6, 2020

If you want to start an exercise program, it’s always best to start with something that’s not too ambitious at first. Like walking in your neighborhood for thirty minutes a day or doing a sport you enjoy.  You can imagine it and it won’t create sharp muscle cramps the next day. At the end of this easy activity, you will be proud of yourself and you’ll start planning more and more…..

If you want to start building your feedback muscles, start with a step you can easily imagine doing, like coaching people who are motivated to learn and grow. Usually those are your team members who are already good at what they do. Think of your top one or two people and begin coaching them next week.

Here are seven keys to success in giving feedback to high performers:

1. Make sure they know your intention. You want to help them develop. When you set up a meeting with them, be clear about your intention to develop them because you know they are eager to develop in their current job and in their future career. Tell them you wish to provide feedback and coaching and you’d like their feedback to you as well.

2. Ask them how they envision future success. Ask them to describe their areas of greatest interest. In your meeting with them next week, ask, listen, and probe to really understand what’s important to them these days–both in their current role and in the future.

3. Frame positive feedback in terms of their goals. Provide positive feedback and affirm how these capabilities will help them achieve their goals. Use specific examples, e.g. “Your focus on collaboration and getting all the diverse parties in the room together and getting them on board will really serve you as you take on the cross-functional design role as a leader.”

4. Frame improvement suggestions in terms of their goals. Provide improvement suggestions so that they also see them as helping them in the future. It’s really cool when the feedback is a strength taken too far, e.g. “When you lead these collaborative meetings, you listen so well and are so quiet yourself, that we’re missing the benefit of the structure and clarity you can provide as a leader.”

5. Dialogue with them about possible future actions. Brainstorm with them about how they can build on their strengths and stretch to improve their weaknesses.

6. Notice and comment on positive changes. Don’t wait. Grab them in the hall or shoot an email.

7. Meet again very soon. Even if they’ve barely had time to implement the new actions, they will already have questions and new ideas to talk over. Keep it up. Close the feedback loop to success for both you and your team member!

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