Constructive feedback to key management

(James Bam) It’s great if the feedback is constructive. By definition, criticism is not constructive. How can something be established when its only purpose is to analyze and differentiate?

My work is broken up – a lot. Each time, my initial thoughts were negative; though the more I listened to those growth-focused nuggets and listened to the advice that came with them, the better my work became—and the better I became people.

Listen without emotion, because emotions cannot differentiate between reality and fantasy. Emotions respond to thoughts as if it were real, even though it is not. Let me share two examples:

  1. When you meet someone who sparks your interest, or inspires you in a new way, and then think back to the moment you get home, how do your emotions and body react with just your thoughts? Especially when you start imagining better things to come!
  2. vice versa. If a difficult client or manager says something negative at the end of the day, and you run through several scenarios in your mind before going to bed—none of them good—what will your emotions and body do to those thoughts? reaction? I know I felt my blood boiling.

Constructive feedback, given correctly, can teach us where we need to improve, where we need to fall behind, and where we need to continue to do well. That’s it. Often, some leaders are more critical of feedback—even overly critical in some cases. This has no place in business, as “feedback” becomes a thinly veiled cover for personal attacks.

When it comes to giving back, the essential ingredient is intention.

Giving back has one purpose: to build up, not tear down. I can count on one hand the number of people who have given back to the building.

When it comes to giving back, my experience suggests that most managers prefer demolition to construction, although this trend may be starting to turn in some places. So, how do you give feedback to someone whose performance isn’t what you want?

Through honest, direct and genuine delivery. I conduct meetings two different ways depending on the type of team member. Do they have an amazing work ethic and work hard, are they kind, honest, ethical and respectful? Or are they rude, lazy, insincere, or disrespectful?

The answer determines the approach I take in the meeting; however, no matter what type of employee they are, the opening line is the same:

“My feedback about your performance will sting. It may hurt your self-esteem and may even upset you. Your reaction will determine how we move forward. You did not perform as well as we needed you to.”

Now, more importantly, let me ask you some questions that may make you uncomfortable. As a “Manager”/”Supervisor”, do you have the courage to ask the tough questions of yourself and your company when your team members are not measuring up? Questions like:

  • Where have you failed them as a leader?
  • Did you ask them questions, or did you just instruct them what to do?
  • Have you ever worked with them?
  • Did you listen when they were talking?
  • Do you listen when they share ideas for improving their workflow or processes?
  • Did you put them in the right place?
  • Did you assign them to the correct team?
  • Have you ever asked them how they learn?
  • Do you ever care about them as a person, or do you just see them as someone who is X, Y, and Z?
  • You are mercifully prohibited from hiring someone who is rude, lazy, disrespectful, and insincere…because then the question becomes: Don’t you know how to recruit, hire, interview, and check references?

You hired an adult to do a job that only adults can do. You recognize their talent and value. So when your team members fall short of their goals, the first question you must ask must start with the person who hired and led them: chances are, that person is you!

One thing I mention in the book is that great leaders open windows to success and mirror failure. When great things happen, open the window and share it with everyone on your team. When failure occurs, look in the mirror and take a thorough look at your own efforts, then look at your team.

If you’re looking to make your business more effective by shifting your focus to helping others, my advice to you is to effectuate the change you want to see in your career.

Now is a good time to start building.

Bottom line: Once you hire someone, their career advancement depends on you and your company doing everything you can to ensure their success.

James Bahm has more than 30 years of experience in broadcasting, sales and marketing, and recruiting. he is Don’t hate my deliciousness – A professional development and sales and marketing book. contact him via email. read james radio ink file here.

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