Neither Positive Nor Negative, A Precise and Sincere Love Demonstration

Nov 09, 2021

Feedback is one of those words that, for some reason, produce mixed emotions depending on the context is heard. Hearing about feedback and immediately lumping it into positive or negative is part of the same movement. We think of it as something that can lift us up or sink us to the bottom of the ocean when in reality, feedback is information to help us do a better job. 

Today, we go deeper into one of the 5 reasons we are losing our people, mentioned in the previous episode; we delve into providing sincere and specific feedback on results. We explore the different ways to do it, the massive impact of making feedback an everyday practice in our company, and what we need to have in place before providing feedback to one of our team members. We also go through how often we should give feedback and the importance of being specific and sincere. I also share two examples of my own experience giving feedback, one done brilliantly, and the other one not so much. 

In This Episode, You Will Learn:

  • Great players want to be told the truth. How should we treat our teams when offering feedback (2:27)
  • Why measurement is crucial to provide high-quality feedback (4:34)
  • How often we should give feedback (7:01)
  • What is the sensation of receiving honest and specific feedback, and what it produces in our employees (11:28)
  • Two examples of providing feedback that taught me a lot (13:53)
  • Why feedback shouldn't sound like someone else's words or like mere data display (19:15)

Resources:

  • Quote: Glenn "Doc" Rivers - "Average players want to be left alone. Good players want to be coached. Great players want to be told the truth."
  • Quote: Ed Batista - "Make feedback normal. Not a performance review."

Let's Connect!

Transcript 

Clint Hoopes:

This is the Flavor of Leadership podcast. I am your host. Clint hoops. Together we explore the unique blend of leadership wisdom that helps top leaders consistently achieve work goals, develop personally and find fulfillment with family let's get started.

This is episode number 54. Welcome to the Flavor of Leadership podcast. If this is your first time with us today, so excited to have you here. Thanks for joining us. If you've been here before, and you're an old listener. Thanks for coming back. Always love having you here. Today we're going to be talking a little bit and going a little bit deeper on something we discussed last week. So last week in episode 53, we discussed five of the reasons you are losing your people due to lack of clarity and what you can do about it. So we're not going to go through all five of those again right now. You can go back to episode 53 and listen to that, to get the full detail there or stay with us. We're just going to be going on number two, which was providing no specific and sincere feedback on results to your people.

So we're going to talk about how to provide more specific and sincere feedback on results to your people. Let's dive right in. So I want to start with a quote, as we dive in today, and this quote comes from former NBA player and NBA coach Glenn Rivers, better known as Doc Rivers. And so he said this, he said, "Average players want to be left alone. Good players want to be coached. Great players want to be told the truth.". So with that in mind today, we want great players. We want people that want to know the truth that want feedback on their results. So it is important to note today, we are going to be speaking about how to give feedback on results with great team members. Those that you are helping and coaching that want this kind of feedback. If what we talk about today, doesn't work with someone or different people on your team.

You may have a wrong person on your team or a team member that's in the wrong seat where they're not able to thrive. So at that point, there may be a different conversation that has to happen in order to have your team set up properly. So just wanted to note that as we're going into this conversation, this is for your great team members because that's what you want on your team are your great team members as we're going through today, you can't really have a discussion about feedback without talking about some sort of data, metric, or conclusion. You got to have something in which to give the feedback, right. Something that's based on. There are many types of results, depending on how and when you measure. So check out episode number two, if you want to have some additional insights into measurement, in episode number two, we actually talked about the six steps to better measurement.

So you can go through that. If you want some additional detail, otherwise we're going to go through some parts of what we share in that episode here today, because measurement is so closely tied to providing feedback to an individual team member. So many people think of results as the final metric, right? So it's just the final metric. So this may be total sales, total revenue, bottom line, net income, fill in the blank or something else entirely, right? Depending on the role that's being measured. These are all lag measures. They're measured after the fact. There's something that happens at the end. So work has happened. And at the end this is our ultimate scorecard, right, for that role. But there are other ways to measure, including lead measures. So lead measures, they are measured on the front end. So they're a little bit different and they can be helpful when we're using data to drive performance as well.

And so lead measures, they are often measuring actions that are taken on the front end that eventually lead to the great lag measures, right? The ultimate scorecard that we want, that we're striving to get towards. So, let's give an example. Sales is one of the easiest ones to understand. In sales, what's the ultimate scorecard for sales? Some people might say, "well, the number of sales,", well, generally that's not true. Generally sales is trying to get the total dollar amount of sales, right? It's a sales number as far as dollar amount or total revenue that they bring in, right? So the ultimate scorecard for sales is generally the total dollar amount that they bring in. And what impacts that dollar amount with that salesperson? Well, there are usually some activities some things they're doing on the front end that impact it. So some salesman might be number of phone calls they make.

Number of in person contacts, number of presentations they do. Whatever it might be, it changes depending on the type of sales and in the industry. And you may find that a certain salesman if they can give 10 presentations, they'll be able to sell two people, right? And so they know, "Wow, I just got to get in front of more people. Because if I want to make four sales today, I need to get in front of 20 people.". And there are other salesmen that might have something much lower. They might do a hundred presentations in order to get one sale, but the sale may be much, much bigger, right? So they're good with it. If it takes them days or weeks to get a sale, they're good with it because they know it's worth the effort and they know their numbers. They know that if they can do a hundred presentations, they're going to get one for sure.

They know it. And if they do 200, they're going to get two for sure, based on their history and track record. So they can play the members and they can use those lead measures to their advantage, to help them know what to do. And you, as a leader, you can also use these lead measures, not just with salesmen, but with other positions as well, to your advantage. So not having to wait for the final lag measure or the total sales, total revenue, whatever it might be. You don't have to wait for the end of the month to give feedback to people. You can give the feedback earlier. And there are other roles that are measured completely differently and they'll have their own lag measures and lead measures. So let's talk about a little more in detail now. So we're measuring our people and they know how they're being measured.

And now we have a chance to provide feedback. So feedback, right? We think of feedback and we think we generally lump feedback. Like we talked a little earlier, we generally lump feedback into two different types. We lump it into positive feedback and negative feedback instead of just feedback, right? Because feedback, all it is, is information. It's information that helps us do our jobs better. And as we're coaching and leading our people over time, as they begin to see the data and they begin to see the feedback that they have received and the results that come and they see them less in a positive and negative bucket and more as information that can help make me and all of us better that can change my actions. That's where we need to get, because then there's less personal emotion attached to some of the results.

So you might say, "Well, we want personal emotion. We want them to care.". Well, yes you definitely do because the right people will care. They want to hit the ultimate measure. They want to hit their metrics. They want to be better, but you also don't want your people crippled by feeling like they have failed or they have messed up because so much of what we do to learn and grow is receiving the feedback tweaking and improving, receiving more feedback, tweaking and improving. So in the case of feedback, where improvement is needed, right, or critiques need to be made, you want that member of your team to see the opportunity that the results or the data shows instead of focusing on what may feel like a personal attack on them, if not done well. Now I'll tell you, this is much more likely to occur if feedback is not given consistently, truly. If you're giving feedback consistently and they see that and feel it and know it, that is much less likely to occur.

It's not going to come across the personal attack because that's what you do with them all the time. And you do it with everyone on the team. This is also when you're having these chances to give feedback. It's also a great opportunity consistently for you as a leader, to reinforce your vision and the expectations you have for people help coach them onward to higher performance, giving them feedback, reinforcing the vision and the expectations. In the past episode, we talked about becoming the chief reminding officer, the CRO as Patrick Lencioni calls it and making sure that you're constantly, constantly reaffirming your vision and reminding to the point where you're sick of it as the leader, you're thinking, "Holy cow, I have said this so many times". And still your people probably haven't heard it enough. So we're the chief reminding officers as a leader.

So when you're providing this great feedback, right, people will often put it in the positive and the negative buckets, but for here, it's just feedback. But man, when you have that feedback that is letting them know that they did something correctly, that feedback is the best to give. And often, we as leaders, don't take this amazing opportunity that we have to provide that wonderful feedback to let them know that they did something well, they did it right. It's time to celebrate, right? And we'll often just lump these nice opportunities into a good job or we might not say them all together, which is just a tragedy, right? Tragedy. Because it's our chance to reinforce the right results and behaviors by showing gratitude to our people. And they'll help us get to our ultimate success of what we're trying to do. If we consistently help them see the connection between the great results and the great work that we're doing.

And if people feel appreciated, man, it's going to help us retain our great people, right? By providing this great feedback and making it specific when you provide that wonderful, specific feedback of what they're doing, right? It just feels good for them, feels good for you, and they want to do more. They do, just like at home with our kids, our kids want that so badly. They want our positive, specific feedback. Do the same thing at home. Do the same thing at work. I know I like that. I love when someone tells me thank you or a great job. And it's very specific and it makes me want to do more. Every time, all of us are that way and it's not bad, it's not bad. So once again, being specific is so important on positive, but man, it is also so important when providing critical feedback. So this critical feedback where people need improvement or critiques, we need to make sure that not only are we being specific, but we're being consistent, right?

We don't just talk to them. Like we said when it's a tough situation or feedback that's critical. Even when it's positive, that's what makes it all so much easier. So one thing to remember though, is that when you're giving critical feedback, especially if your people aren't used to receiving consistent feedback from you in this way, you got to make sure that they understand that you're giving these critiques based on the results. You're talking about the results and what we can do to change them. Some people will internalize it and think it's attack as personal attack at them. That is them as a person. And in the end you might think, "Oh gosh, these people are, some people are so soft and so easy. I'm stepping on eggshells.". Well, you don't want to be stepping on shells with people, but you do want to make sure that they do understand how you're there as a coach to help them.

So just remember, it's difficult to see how we are perceived as a leader, by our people. It is hard. It's hard to see how we're perceived. And some people may be fearful, especially when they're only getting intermittent feedback. So how do we fix this? We've already said this about three times through the episode today. Right? Make it consistent. Right. And make it specific, consistent and specific over and over again and you won't lose great people by not providing that consistent feedback. So let's go a little bit deeper into being specific. I can remember a time when I gave some critical feedback to an employee and it was needed, it was. There were some things in this employee's behavior and some of the results that just didn't work out. But guess what? I just took an opportunity, right?

It was just a chance where I was sitting there and had a chance where it was just me and this employ. And I was able to just casually be able to give some critical feedback about something and guess what I didn't do. I didn't research before I didn't have specific examples of their behavior that I was trying to help. I kind of generally knew about it. I knew what it was. I'd had some examples in the past that there's kind of intermittent, but I'd heard from another employee that had an issue with something. And I just kind of gradually just kind of put it in, said, "Hey, these are some things that I'd love for you to work on. I've seen this before and I had another employee that saw it as well".

And all of a sudden, where did they go? Oh no, the boss is worried about me and other employees are talking. And I realized, "Oh man, I had made a terrible, terrible mistake earlier in my career doing this.". I didn't give specific examples. I didn't prepare, I did multiple things wrong and it did not go good. Did not go good. Some trust was lost. They felt like I was talking about them behind their back with someone else. When really, I mean, all it was, was I was just taking data in taking information from people and I wanted to help give the feedback. But man, if I had done it a little differently, we could have had a short, sweet, wonderful conversation that would've helped provide some simple feedback for them. And it would've been so helpful and they would've taken the right way.

But instead they started having mistrust of me, wondering if their employees are talking about them all because I didn't do this right. And I honestly, looking back, I probably didn't give them enough feedback as consistently. Right. I needed to do this differently. So that was a place where, "Oh man, I messed up big.". So there was another time though that I can think of later after this happened, after I learned my lesson where I had an employee actually looking for feedback where the employee came to me and was asking for feedback on the spot and said, "Hey, can I get some feedback on...?", And there was a very specific thing that they wanted feedback on different than what we typically covered in like our one-on-one meetings, for instance. And it was a great question. I was so grateful. It was just like when we talked about the quote earlier, right, "Great employees want the truth."

Right. "Great team members want the truth.". This is an example of that, where they wanted the truth on some things. And I had some things in my mind that I could have spouted off and they wanted me to do it on the spot. They didn't want to wait. They just said, "Oh, just tell me no big deal.". And I having had that previous conversation I had had years before in my mind said, "No, I would love to give this the proper amount of thought and come back to you. I appreciate you asking.". So we ended up having a much better conversation later. A couple of days later, I took just a few minutes to think through some things, give some specific examples of times they did really well what they were asking me and times they needed to work on some things they were asking me and, oh my goodness, this conversation turned out to be just a wonderful conversation.

Helped me communicate better with the leader. Helped them in ways that they were looking to be helped. And it was a great coaching opportunity for me with this team member, I was able to reinforce vision and expectations and it was just a completely different, completely different opportunity. Consistent feedback though, is the one thing I'll tell you more than anything. Like I gave a couple of examples here, a really bad, example and a much better example. And I'm telling you in the end, giving consistent, specific feedback is the most critical part of all of it. So Ed Batista, he said this, he said, "Make feedback normal, not a performance review.". So that's a big one as well, just making it normal. It doesn't have to be perfect. It doesn't have to be this perfectly polished performance review. That's one thing I'm worried about when I tell you this, let's go back.

And like I said, I prepared for these conversations with some specific feedback. I want you to know. It wasn't like I prepared for hours for these conversations. I just gathered my thoughts I'm working with my people constantly. They know the expectations. I know where we're at. We communicate. And so in the end it was just a few, a couple of minutes of just gathering my thoughts so that I could give some great feedback to someone. So really making feedback normal and consistent. That's what we got to do. Love your people enough to give them the specific feedback they need and desire. That's the best way that we can show that we care for them is by helping to give them the specific feedback, right. Specific and sincere, sincere is the last piece. It must be sincere if we're giving feedback, that feels like we're just saying something that came from someone else or spouting off data.

Like I said, I'm talking about giving data and having results and numbers to help back it up. Yeah. Those help so much because people want to see, they want to be measured. They want to know, but it has to be sincere. They have to know that it comes from a place of love, that you're coaching and helping them because you want them to improve. You want them to get better, not just improve your own personal results. So when people see that they can feel that and they know when it comes from your heart and when it does they'll listen and they will forgive all of your shortcomings. Like we talked about, doesn't have to be perfect, doesn't have to be every so eloquent and wonderful. In the end, they just want to know you care. So what is the challenge this week?

This is the challenge. When you are presented this week with a chance to give generic praise to someone on your team, make it specific. Please make it specific. Next, when you were given the chance to give helpful feedback to one of your team members, don't shirk your role as a leader and say nothing. You need to give the feedback and you need to give it in a caring and sincere way. Make the feedback specific and helpful. This will begin to change your relationship with your people for the better, right? Just add consistency. That's it. Just add consistency. I'm sure you're probably already giving feedback to people and just being a little more consistent, a little more specific and a little more sincere will go a long way. Don't go for perfect. Go for consistent. You got this, until next week.

Thanks for joining me on this week's episode of the Flavor of Leadership podcast. If you enjoyed what you heard, please share it with a friend. And if you haven't already subscribe, rate, and review the show on your favorite podcast player, if you have any questions, comments, or feedback for us, you can reach me directly at flavorofleadership.com. Thanks for listening.