Giving feedback as a Masterful Leader
There is often talk about the difference between a manager and a leader; a manager manages performance whilst a leader develops their people to enhance their performances. In light of this, put your hand on your heart and identify which category you belong in.
Here are some more clues: do you only speak to you staff when they are not performing, thus focusing on what you do not want rather than what you do want? Or are you pro-actively looking for all the things you like about their performances? Leaders do this, because they understand that in order to give feedback for personal and professional growth, it has to be tempered with praise so you are building your staff's self esteem, not destroying it. If you cannot find something you like about their performance, then you are either not trying hard enough or you are not training & coaching enough. Whatever the problem it comes back to how you fulfill your leadership or managerial role.
There are many tools and competencies required in a leader's toolkit; giving feedback is a cornerstone of this toolkit. Inspiring and motivating is not about taking your team out because once the warm glow of your night out wears off, there may be nothing left. If we look at Maslow's hierarchy of needs, then esteem and self- actualization are more than likely what your staff's needs are. A night out or pointing out their faults is not enough. To truly grow and develop your staff and yourself as a leader you must give honest and consistent feedback to every single member in your team. Some choose to focus on the under-performers whilst others focus solely on their stars, yet every team member has the same needs and hopefully the same potential when you made your hiring decision.
Here is how you give honest feedback to develop and motivate your team:
- Shift your thinking from you to them. A manager or leader is about the staff and the results. If you can develop your staff and get the right results, you will shine as their leader.
- Constantly look for things, they are doing right. Note this is about behaviour, not results. Look for the behaviour that is going to give you the desired results.
- Look for the behaviours that are undesirable, that will work against the results you want from each person and as a team.
- Identify which behaviours you want to see instead, so it is not enough to say; “you are spending too much time on admin”.
- Now give each person feedback pertinent to them in the “sandwich” format, which is begin with something positive about their behaviour, then something you want them to improve on and how, then make sure you end on something positive. So it could be something like:”I love the way you share your industry knowledge when you speak with clients. You really show the depth of your experience! I think, if you changed the way you present yourself, you could convert more clients. See you have the experience but we know that people judge us within the first 30 seconds they meet us. So if you were to wear a suit, it would add to your credibility. What do you think about trying that? It would definitely put a nice frame around all your knowledge and experience to show you as the true industry expert!” The “sandwich” approach allows you to give feedback in a way that your staff will respond well to. Their self esteem will increase, but they also know they have a clear improvement point and know why they need to work on that area. Too many managers assume people know where and how to improve, but we all have blind spots and we often need someone with our interests at heart to tell us what they are.