Everyone likes to hear that we did something well and most of us are willing to listen to someone point out areas that need improvement, provided the criticism is delivered with our best interest at heart.
Leaders provide encouraging feedback to their staff, even when performance falls short of expectations.
Responsibility: A Perspective
All too often, managers sit down with employees to review a list of responsibilities and send them on their way. Worse, they simply hand the employee a piece of paper and expect them to figure it out – that’s why they were hired for the position, right?
Leaders take a much different view of their role and they take advantage of every opportunity to develop individuals while getting the team to work together. Leaders believe helping their employees achieve goals is a shared responsibility; those that do reap great benefits.
Goal Setting and Reinforcing Feedback
In The One Minute Manager, Kenneth Blanchard and Spencer Johnson address goal setting and reinforcing feedback in the simplest way. They break down the process into One-Minute Goals, One-Minute Praisings, and One-Minute Reprimands; the key is providing immediate, encouraging feedback.
Most people enjoy sports and can relate to concepts better when used as an example. Consider illustrating the importance of goal setting and reinforcing feedback to your leadership team by teaching a volunteer the basics of dribbling a basketball or some other activity you know well.
Basketball Dribbling Example
Goal Setting starts with describing the desired behavior. The volunteer should demonstrate the basics of dribbling a basketball by maintaining proper balance and stance, bouncing the ball with her fingertips, and keeping her head up while dribbling in order to see the entire court.
Demonstrate the proper behavior and then let your volunteer try. A typical demonstrator might do a great job with balance and stance and dribbling, where you would “Praise” the behavior, but make the common mistake of looking at the ball while dribbling, which you would “Reprimand” in a positive, encouraging manner.
“Good balance, nice dribble, now keep your head up,” or “Nice dribble, head up, good job. Now keep your balance.”
Before long, she will be dribbling correctly; in less than One-Minute.
Reaping the Benefits
Leaders recognize that everyone wants and needs feedback. They establish goals and make sure they are clearly understood, and then they check to ensure that actions confirm all of the concepts were understood. If not, they provide the necessary feedback for their team to adjust and make the necessary corrections.
A key concept from The One Minute Manager is “people who feel good about themselves produce good results.” If you “catch them doing something right” and announce it openly, you are likely to reinforce the desired behavior.
Addressing incorrect behavior is much easier to handle when we keep in mind that most people attempt to do the right thing.
We simply need to redirect their attention on the desired behavior until the concept is internalized.
Providing immediate and encouraging feedback affords one way to reap the benefits of achieving goals and improving your relationship with your office team.
As long as your comments focus on the task and NOT the person, you will be on your way to improving performance and achieving your goals.
About the Author: Tom Crea has been developing leaders for more than 25 years. If you would like to know more about a values-based approach to leading and improving your team
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