The article outlines the kinds of behaviours you see in good teams, in particular with regard to respect, appreciation, ownership and caring. I really liked the ideas behind the post and wanted to add here a simple formula for well-delivered apologies. You can include the pointers from Kate’s post and if you use this formula for delivery, you are bound to be authentic.
Good apologies are like good constructive feedback – the process is the same.
So, lets start by seeing how to give good feedback. It’s easy to do in 4 steps:
- Outline the behaviour/performance you are talking about. For example: “Your time management is not very good.”
- Give an example that explains (1). For example: You have been late by more than 30 minutes 3 times this week.”
- Outline the consequences of (1). For example: “As a result, your colleagues have been under pressure at the check-out during peak hours.”
- Think about the future and required performance/behaviour. For example, make a suggestion, discuss together or simply delegate the task future improvement.
(..as a side-note, the above process is the same for feedback about positive performance).
When you apologise, it is important to be precise about what you are apologising for and show that you understand the consequence of your actions.
That’s why the feedback process is so useful. Let’s see an example…
- Outline the behaviour/performance you are talking about. For example: “I realise that I was rude to you earlier…”
- Give an example that explains (1). For example: “…when I said you were stupid and childish.”
- Outline your understanding of the consequences of (1). For example: “I can imagine that you felt hurt or upset due to my unkindess.”
- Say something about the future. For example: “I am going to make an effort to be more respectful in the way I talk to people.”
…and then say the magic word: “Sorry”
If you do all this (including Kate’s pointers) you’ll be on the track to giving real authentic and valuable apologies.
Thanks for reading.
Please leave a comment.
(And yes, the title is rude because I’m annoyed!)
(And didn’t someone once say you should add some personal-flavour to blogging and social networking?)
If you really want to annoy, demotivate and alienate people, follow these 5 simple feedback “un-rules”:
Give it without warning
Throwing out feedback without asking can be horribly surprising for the person getting the feedback. Even feedback-givers with good intentions can screw up by jumping into their message without first asking (or at least warning) the other person. What was a simple conversation or meeting suddenly turns into one person telling the other what they do or don’t like about their performance….
You might be tempted to think this is only an issue when giving feedback on negative performance, but my experience tells me otherwise. I once told a fantastic colleague “out of the blue” what and how I found she was doing well –> she became very shy and uneasy about the rest of the meeting. Try to avoid the “Where did that come from?” effect.
Give it without permission
Letting people know that feedback is coming is one thing, but I always find it better to actually ask permission to give feedback first. It can be as simple as saying “I have some feedback to give you. Would that be OK?” Asking this question will also help you to avoid the first issue, maybe even deferring the feedback to a moment that is more comfortable for the other person.
(Of course, if you are in a position of hierarchical authority and you feel that the other person does not have to give you permission, go ahead – I am rarely in this position now, but I don’t say it’s impossible)
Give it via someone else, rather than yourself
There are 3 good reasons to pass feedback to someone via a third party:
- You have no guts
- You are manipulating
- You are the n+2 and feel that all feedback must come via the n+1
Personally, I think the last reason is pretty lousy – actually often a form of gutless corporate manipulation made possible by hierarchy and organigrams. But hey, I suffered a lot once from gutless corporate manipulation, so I may be a little biased…
I am also aware that some cultures can be more direct than others with their communication style, but as a general principle, I think that if you have something to tell someone, it should be YOU that tells them.
Create no dialogue, even though you are dealing with a competent human being
I think it’s a good idea to link the “next steps” or “here’s what you could do” part of feedback-giving to a situational leadership style.
- If the person is incompetent, you need to tell them what and how to do better
- If the person is competent, you may not NEED to tell them what/how to do: Discussing, involving and asking may be a better option
I just did this to one of my daughters tonight. I told her I wasn’t very happy that she said “XYZ” to her mother. In fact, she said X and Y, but not Z. Fail!
Nothing sucks more than inaccurate feedback.
When it comes to objective vs. subjective feedback, it’s important to note that accuracy is possible in BOTH cases:
- If you are talking about measurable performance “facts” collect and cite them well
- If you are talking about your own feelings and opinion (with regard to the other person’s performance) then make it clear that it’s your opinion – don’t make the mistake of pretending (to yourself or others) that it’s a fact
All of these 5 fails were achieved by someone giving me feedback last week
How do I feel?
Now, I add one final thing: My wife has just read this and says “Hey DAN, the last part is very strong and not very business-like”.
Do you really think that business people don’t feel these things when you give them lousy feedback?
Thanks for reading.
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Having just completed delivery of a 4-day Leadership Training with @KluwerOpleiding (thanks @MiekWouters for the chance to have a small group :-)) I thought I’d share the email stream that built up from me to participants over the 4-days. Loads of references here…
References DAY 1
- Here you can find a list of leadership competences outlined by previous trainees
- Check out the film from Al Gore’s ex-speech writer Dan Pink on the DRIVE wall
- To see a list of ideas from previous trainees on how to bring FLOW into the organisation, click here and click here to see all their references from the FLOW wall
- If you would like to read my thoughts on P.E.R.S.O.N.A.L goal-setting, check this link
- See what google’s VP for HR says about people management skills
- Remember ROWE?
- For book references, check www.shelfari.com/dansteer/shelf
- 7 Habits
Homework / Preparation DAY 2
- Do the exercise found on this web-page
- Have a look at this webpage (wall) http://www.wallwisher.com/wall/leadership-drive – please add something of your own – a reference, link, comment or idea about DRIVE
- Fix 1 SMART objective concerning your development as a leader
References from DAY 2
- Get some more information here about Albert Mehrabian who told us about words, intonation and everything else
- The problem with 1-way communication
- …and 3 tips if you are obliged to do things 1-way
- I told you that you would care about why I see Citroen Xsara Picasso’s everywhere…. read here to see why
- I found this link for some information on seating politics and room dynamics – I’ll let you judge the quality of info…
- For more information about Sun Tzu follow this link. To read “The Art of War”, follow this link – position is the key to strategy!
- Check out Charlene Li’s book “Open Leadership” which discusses the key issue of giving up control when allowing people more freedom
Homework in preparation for DAY 3
- Think of a problem you have (professional or personal). This will be used in day 3. You will be asked to state your problem and ask for help…
- Think of a difficult communication situation or difficult person you have had to deal with (personal or professional)
Here are the references from training DAY 3
- “Coaching for Performance” by Sir John Whitmore for more info on how and why to use the GROW model
- Check out my blog-post of my favourite SWOT questions (used during reality/options assessment of GROW) and tips on how to use SWOT
- 10 things you can learn from David Brent about performance evaluations
- 2 additional references about performance evaluations
- Meritocratic performance management systems: A short article on how some people feel about it
- Another idea on performance evaluation process: APOP (Annual Piece of Paper)
- Here you can find some info on PAC ego-states
- Book references can always be found on http://www.shelfari.com/dansteer/shelf
- Coaching for Performance
- TA Today
Homework in preparation for DAY 4
- Prepare a 1 minute presentation of yourself – anything is fine, we just need some data to use for a feedback exercise, so no stress!
- Please think about additional topics to cover in group coaching session in the afternoon of Day 4
References DAY 4
- Here you can get a lot more information about Jef Staes and Red-Monkeys
- Read this blog page for notes on what leaders can do to bring change to the organisation
- Read what Dummies has to say about giving feedback
- Read about logical levels – interesting to use in coaching..?
Hope this was interesting
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