Throw Out Fifty Things

When you’re the “giver:”

1. What’s your objective? Be super clear about what you want this person to walk away thinking, feeling and doing. In general and without exception, your aim is to motivate, never to chastise, berate or make anyone “wrong.” Write down the specific take-always you’re after so that no matter how the conversation goes, you’ll stay on message. Example: I want Sarah to leave this conversation knowing how much I value her commitment and specific talents (name them) and feeling positive about making the changes she needs to make (name them).

2. What’s working? Always start with the good stuff. “I’ve heard so many great comments about the way you ….” Or “I’ve noticed the positive impact you have when you…” Or “In terms of…. nobody does it better than you.” Be specific, be honest and be enthusiastic with your praise. When a person knows you “get it” about how good they are and how hard they’re working, they drop their defenses and start listening – and that’s when the magic starts.

3. What’s not working? Here’s where the rubber meets the road. Here’s your chance to say, “I know it’s been difficult to work with the new organizational structure, and I appreciate the effort you’ve made, but it would be great if you could reach out more aggressively, be more visibly committed to….” The point is, you address head-on whatever situation exists that needs to be addressed for this individual, or for a particular initiative, to succeed. Again, be honest, be clear and don’t sugar coat the facts.

4. What’s missing? This is the perfect opportunity to indicate what behavior or skill you’d like this person to exhibit. “It would be great if you could hone your presentation skills. When you’re more comfortable standing up in front of people, you can be more effective representing this department.” Don’t hold back in this category; remember, if you don’t address these needs, no one will.

5. What’s my overall recommendation? Here’s your chance to say what you recommend this individual continue doing, start doing or stop doing. It’s also your chance to suggest exactly how she should go about making whatever changes you’re suggesting – whether it’s getting feedback from peers, outside coaching or taking advantage of company training.

6. What’s my commitment? This is my favorite category; this is where you underscore who you are on behalf of this individual and what you’re prepared to do to help her live up to her highest potential. “You can count on me for x, y and z,” you might say. Of course, you must be prepared to follow through on your commitments and be ready to update her – as you expect her to update you – on a regular basis.

Tags: feedback, giving

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