Remember that manager you had that when he said “I need to talk to you” you got a deep sinking feeling which wound up at the pit of your stomach. What was it that made you react to those words?

There are any number of reasons that you reacted many of which were based on the experiences you had following the statement “ I need to talk to you”. The first was that your manager never gave you any positive feedback, all you heard were the things you weren’t doing right. And for those of you who did get positive feedback, the feedback given to you which was focused on changing behavior wasn’t given clearly and you often walked away wondering what exactly you needed to do.

So that was then and now you’re the manager. What are you doing differently from that dreaded manager who couldn’t give you feedback effectively so you finally got frustrated and left for greener pastures?

Here are some steps to feedback that, if done correctly and consistently, will move your team members to a higher level of productivity and effectiveness. The key is you need to be consistent or you won’t get these results. Interpreted: You won’t see changes over night. Change generally happens incrementally and not all of a sudden.

As a general rule, during the steps 1-3 of the conversation make your statements using the pronoun “I” vs “You”. And during steps 4-6 statements will transition to “You”.

  1. At the very beginning of the meeting, make sure that you clearly state why you are meeting with the person who is getting feedback .
  2. State facts or observations you have made and your concern around this behavior
    “At the meeting yesterday, I saw you cut off Jim five times while he was speaking which is a concern”
  3. Explain the impact that the negative behavior has on you
    “The reason I am concerned is that when you cut people off such as Jim, I and the other team members maybe missing some good ideas that he hasn’t been able to share with us. And since one of our key values is innovation, this behavior does not align with our values”
  4. Ask for the employee’s view of the situation and use as many questions as possible to get their perspective
    “ I’d like to understand what caused you to cut Jim off so many times” “Tell me more…” “How do you think it made Jim feel?”
  5. Coach the person to their own solution, once they understand the impact their behavior has on their performance and others around them.
    “So what technique could you use that will stop you from interrupting?” “What else?”
  6. Get commitment on a SMART Goal from the employee
    “Which solution are you committed to trying?”
    “When will you try it?”
    “ How will you know that you’ve been successful?”
  7. Set up specific time for follow up

Now that you know the steps, who are you going to start the process with? The sooner you start, the sooner your employees will become more productive and effective. And as a manager or business leader, this means greater profits and a more engaged workforce.

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