• Jim Mercer

SamTastic Weekly Tip: 3/9/20 - Direct + Compassion = Effective Feedback.

This week’s tip: Direct + Compassion = Effective Feedback.

Would the people you work with say that you give good feedback? This may be the hardest thing for any leader to do. It is definitely the most important thing to get right if you want to move your people forward.

Start by going to your Dashboard, expand the Five Top Descriptors chart and look at the three feedback bars. Click a bar to see who has received the most feedback:

Pick a person you think has benefited from your feedback and ask yourself these questions:

1. Were you direct, clear and specific with your feedback?

2. Were you compassionate?

Now, try the same thing with a person you don’t think has benefited from your feedback. Do you need to change how you give feedback?

Kim Marshall shared business leader Adriana Huffrngton’s advice in a recent Marshall Memo:

The secret to a truly productive workplace, Huffington believes, is combining directness with compassion. This approach, which is a hallmark of her own organization, empowers people “to speak up, give feedback, disagree, and surface problems in real time. But it has to be done with compassion, empathy, and understanding. It’s what allows us to course-correct, improve, and meet challenges while also building teams that collaborate and care for one another.” All this can exist only if the policy is explicit and people have established an atmosphere of trust. Huffington has some specific pointers:

• Give one piece of constructive feedback and let it stand on its own. “Don’t undermine your message by padding it with irrelevant positive statements,” she says.

• Don’t let stress or being in a hurry get in the way of compassion and empathy.

• When you notice a problem, find a way to surface it immediately.

• Consider the other person’s perspective. Before a face-to-face meeting, ask yourself, “Where is this person coming from? What are key motivations and priorities?

• When you receive constructive feedback, write it down and come back to it later. This allows you to get past your immediate emotional reaction and see if it’s on target.

• Shift a digital exchange into a face-to-face conversation. This is much more likely to build trust and camaraderie.

• “Once a day, have a conversation where you mostly listen,” says Huffington. “Don’t underestimate the power of your silence. Instead of giving your opinion or changing the subject, invite the other person to go deeper.”

Here’s a link to the complete article: The New York Times, February 24, 2020

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