Tag Archives: feedback

Unspoken Collusion

“I got your back. Don’t worry, I will not call you out on your mistake. In return, I expect you to keep silent on my mistake.”

Unspoken collusion.

Sounds like a loyalty statement, AND it is built on deception.

“I got your back. I will call you out on your mistake, especially if it impacts the team. I will not mince words, I will give you the feedback I think you need to improve, AND I will be there to support you, encourage you. I expect you to do the same for me. Do not allow me to think that no one notices when I screw up. Help me see (reality). Help me hear the words I need to hear to perform at a higher level.”

Spoken cooperation. Conscious dialogue.

Sounds like a loyalty statement, AND it is built on a search for the truth.

Constructive Criticism?

“Never criticize, condemn or complain,” – Dale Carnegie.

To provide corrective feedback or constructive criticism may spring from a noble intent, AND the effort is futile, likely counterproductive to correcting a behavior or increasing the level of performance.

As a manager, are you required to deliver both positive feedback and corrective feedback?

Yes.

Delivering positive feedback is the easier of the two.

It is the corrective feedback that consternates most managers. Sometimes, delivering corrective feedback is so uncomfortable that managers avoid the conversation altogether.

Managerial effectiveness does not come from telling people what to do. Managerial effectiveness comes from asking the most effective questions.

Positive feedback – a strength I saw in your project, was your adherence to the schedule you created in the planning stage. The reason I say that is most people don’t have a plan, even if they do, they rarely use it to effectively guide the project.

Corrective feedback – if you had to do the same project again, what would you do differently? What impact would that have on the outcome of the project? If you made that change in the project, how would that look in the planning stage? What change would that make to the schedule? Who would need to be in the loop about this change?

The most effective managers are those that ask the most effective questions. And, it doesn’t sound like criticism.

Told You Once, Told You a Thousand Times

“I don’t care that they hate the rule, but safety is safety, and the rule is the rule,” Rory explained.

“What’s your point?” I asked.

“The point is, I tell the guys, over and over, they have to wear their hard hats on the job site, but I hear, as soon as I am gone, they take them off. I know the hats are hot, but the job site is a dangerous place. Besides, if OSHA drops by, there is a hefty fine.”

“It’s seems like all your efforts are having the opposite effect of what you want. You sound like a behaviorist who has no children.”

“I have kids, what do you mean?” Rory resisted.

“If you have kids, then you know the futility of scolding over and over. I bet you even tried raising your voice. Probably had the same impact,” I said. “If I told you once, I told you a thousand times.

Rory chuckled. “Yeah, you’re right. I just don’t know. I mean, these guys are grown adults. You would think they would listen to reason.”

“You think you are talking reason. I would bet the crew hears your reason as rules. And they hear your instructions as scolding. People learn faster and retain more in a positive environment than they do when they are criticized. Is the point of the conversation to demonstrate how angry you can get, or to persuade them to wear safety helmets, even when you are not around?”

Henry’s Feedback System

Henry took the pushpins out of yesterday’s report and tacked today’s report in its place. This was a new initiative to provide statistical feedback to the floor. On the report were numbers indicating percentage of capacity, scrap overages and mean time to complete. Next to today’s number were the accumulated numbers for the month and the year. Each section of the report had a snappy little graph in color.

When Henry told me about his idea to provide daily feedback to his production floor, I was quite interested. When I saw the posting, I had more questions. I asked Henry to identify his three weakest links on the floor. That was easy, Henry pointed them out immediately.

I asked Henry to take the posting and get some feedback from his three chosen technicians. “How are we doing?”

Individually, the three studied the sheet, then slowly shook their heads. “I don’t know, I guess we’re doing okay, my supervisor isn’t yelling at me.”

Henry was disappointed. He worked hard on his charts. I asked him, “In what way could you present something that everyone will understand, quickly and easily?”

Henry finally settled on one number, today’s units produced. If the number was better than target, it was green. If it was below target, it was red. Next to it, in black, was tomorrow’s target. One week later, everybody understood. Henry’s feedback system was a success.

How to Prevent Improvement on a Team

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?”

How to Deliver Corrective Feedback

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.