Can you say what needs to be said to improve performance? Can you hear what needs to be heard? Do you give honest feedback to your colleagues, team or business partners? And not just at the Christmas party when you’ve indulged in a few glasses of mulled wine or festive beers.
Being open and honest about how you see things is one of the first steps towards making the performance improvements for yourself and the team of people you work with. Yet, it can seem so much easier to shy away from pointing out something we think isn’t right, especially when it is behavioural. Frankly it often feels a damn sight easier just to let it slide without having those more challenging conversations, through fear of the reaction you may get back, of causing offence or jeopardising what has been to date a healthy relationship. Unfortunately, keeping quiet might be the gentler road, but no one said achieving results would be easy!
To reach our goals, we need to build momentum by making tiny improvements on a daily basis. Knowing what to improve upon becomes very challenging if we can’t be honest with one another.
Telling it how you see it – feedback and performance
Delivering and receiving positive and negative feedback without causing or taking offence will give you a clearer understanding of the current reality. Without clarity about where you truly are and where you and your team are heading, it’s impossible to gage the performance improvements required. Without the capability to identify the improvements needed, you’ll never reach the necessary performance to achieve results.
A team can build clarity about their current situation by ‘telling it how they see it,’ taking feedback on board and highlighting things that aren’t working. Although having an open culture doesn’t necessarily define the appropriate cause of action, it is a step toward reaching the desired performance.
Telling it how we see it
When giving constructive feedback, you need to be confident that the feedback has the potential to make a difference to performance. You don’t need to know that it will improve performance, but you do need to believe that it could. Being open and honest with the aim of achieving more is a good thing.
Using phrases that include ‘I like’ or ‘I prefer’ are good ways to deliver informative feedback. Remember feedback shouldn’t be personal. Feedback is about changing a behaviour to improve performance.
How to hear how it is
If we’re prepared to ‘tell it how we see it’, we need to be prepared to hear ‘how others see it’. Remember that feedback is just information! By keeping this in mind, we can digest the information and decide whether anything needs to be done. Furthermore, building a culture of seeking feedback from each other, rather than waiting to receive it can be beneficial. Simply because it can help open your mind to other’s feedback and encourage others to do the same.
Obviously, giving effective feedback is far easier if you have a mutual permission to give it. So, arranging regular opportunities to share informative feedback can be beneficial. Sharing this strategy with your team is also a useful way of getting everyone on board.
For a greater understanding of ‘telling it how you see it,’ read the Momentum chapter in our Will It Make The Boat Go Faster? book or ask to hear about the Performance Module we run purely around giving and receiving feedback.