Are you the cause of decimation or elevation?

My little girls love balloons. Take a new balloon out of the packet and it’s colourful and full of promise. Blow it up carefully, and provided you keep it away from sharp objects, a balloon provides hours of entertainment pleasure.

Giving good feedback, feedback that builds confidence and provides constructive ways that performance can be improved, is like blowing up a new balloon and releasing that potential.

On the eve of a two-week holiday many years ago, my manager gave me feedback on how I handled a client interaction that day. Her comments were critical, with very little indication of how she thought I could do differently next time. Her lack of support impacted my confidence and I spent much of my holiday stewing over it. It was as if she had taken a balloon and stamped on it.

‘Tom’ took over a team of IT developers. This team had been given lots of ‘nice feedback’ by their previous manager. They regularly been told how well they were doing, hollow feedback high in confidence impact and yet providing them with very little opportunity to grow and develop. When Tom arrived his team was stagnant.

You have probably had experience of feedback that was deflating. This type of feedback identifies numerous specific ways in which you could improve your skill, but provides no reassurance that you have the ability to get there. This can feel overwhelming.

The best manager I ever worked with had an amazing ability to give feedback that was high in constructive value, giving me options for improving my performance. His feedback always left me feeling confident that I was up to the challenge. His feedback inspired me, helped me grow, and elevated my performance.

Good feedback has the potential to increase awareness. And with increased awareness comes increased choice. 

Giving feedback is a critical leadership skill, and it can be challenging.
I have created the model below for a leadership program. The aim is to give participants the tools, skill and confidence to give and receive feedback effectively.

Two important things to keep in mind when you give feedback are:

  • Confidence impact – Give feedback that increases the person’s confidence they can meet this challenge.
  • Constructive value – Give feedback that is specific and actionable.

What’s the impact of the feedback that you give? Decimation? Stagnation? Deflation? Elevation?

What will you do to increase the confidence impact and constructive value of the feedback you give today?

Have an Extraordinary day.