I find giving feedback is something that a lot of people struggle with. They struggle when it comes to giving constructive feedback, that helps to improve performance, and they also then forget to give feedback when it comes to positive achievements. I would like to share with you a model that I have found very useful in my own practice and which I have taught many leaders over the years. It’s a model that I modified from Bob Wall, who wrote the book Coaching for Emotional Intelligence.
It’s a five- step model. Let me talk you through it. Step one is the opening statement. You say to the individual, ‘I want to talk to you about X.’ It’s a positioning statement. You’re actually saying, ‘This is I want to do. I want to talk to you about this.’. The second step is the observation. You can say something like, ‘I saw you do this or I heard you do that or I read this in your report.’ It’s really important in this feedback model that it’s something that you have observed.
This model is not effective if you’re using aspects of ‘I heard it from somebody else.’ You need to have observed it yourself. The third step is the impact of that particular behaviour, either on the individual, on you, on the team or on the organisation. It’s important to really think about the impact of that particular behaviour. The fourth point is the check in. I’ve added this point in because sometimes I think people are unaware of the impact of their behaviour. The ability to check in and say, ‘What was happening for you there or why did you do that?’ gives them voice in the process.
The fifth step is either to suggest some improvements they could make or request some things that they could do to change their behaviour. Those are the five steps, opening statement, observations, impact of the behaviour, check for their viewpoint, and finally, request or suggest changes. This model is quick and effective. It is not like a half yearly or yearly performance appraisal but is something that you can do on the go. You can use it both for constructive and positive feedback. If you’re doing it for positive, you may not want to use the check step, but try it, see how it goes, and reflect on the impact.
What I’d like to leave you with is, regardless of what model you use to give feedback, the key aspect is to ensure that you are giving feedback. That’s crucial and as a leader, a very vital part of what you do.