Seek and give feedback graciously. The success of a feedback loop depends on being open to feedback AND being able to communicate feedback in a way that can be understood, considered and integrated into action. Giving feedback is not yelling. Challenge the status quo with clarity AND respect. Be straight AND sensitive.
Ernesto was on a roll. Emily was now seated in a chair at the front of the class.
“Emily, you think there is a morale problem on the production line, but that’s not the problem. You know your team is not meeting the daily target, but you haven’t shared the numbers with them. ‘A little short today, try to do better tomorrow.’ Bottom line, you are not telling the truth because you are afraid to hurt someone’s feelings. By not telling the whole truth, the accurate truth, you have made them incapable of improvement.”
Emily’s body language was retreating. Ernesto continued.
“And you have created co-dependents out of them. They are just fine not knowing what the target is. As long as they don’t know, they don’t have to perform to it.
“When you tell them they are short, they think it’s your problem not theirs. They are perfectly willing to continue this non-accountable relationship. No skin off their nose.”
The color in Emily’s face began to pale. I called a time out. The room was very still and quiet.
I jumped in. “The problem we name is the problem we solve. That is why it is so important to name the problem correctly,” I said. “How will we name this problem?”
Patrick was curious. “I think I understand,” he replied. “When I say you, I sound like a critical parent, no matter how good my intentions are. The word you triggers an emotional response.”
You didn’t do that right.
I nodded, “The word you positions you as the critical parent (ego state) and invites the rebellious child (ego state) to respond. But when you change the word to I, you invite a different person to the conversation.”
I need help with this.
“Who does that sound like?” I asked. “Does that sound like a parent or a child?”
“It sounds like a child. Children always say I want this or I need that,” Patrick replied.
“Exactly. And when you, as a manager use the word I, it positions you differently. More important, who does it invite into the conversation?”
Patrick was quiet, then his face brightened. “A child always asks the parent. When I use the word I,
I need help with this.
“I am asking for help from a parent. I have invited a parent (ego state) into the conversation.” Patrick smiled. This was making sense and now he knew how to go back on the floor and talk to his team member.
States of Mind
Rebellious Child vs Curious Child
Critical Parent vs Nurturing Parent
Never criticize, it invites a rebellious child to the conversation.
Ask for help, it invites a nurturing parent to the conversation. It is still corrective feedback, just speaking with a different person.