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Archive for August, 2009

The Feedback Disconnect – part 2

Question: What’s the difference between performance feedback and a root canal?

Answer: Anesthesia

Why IS giving and accepting feedback such a challenge?

1.Feedback is not delivered well when:

It isn’t delivered at all . . . . . . . . . .

Example: “I meant to talk to her about the accountability issue, but it seemed to be improving and we had the big retreat; then the moment passed………”

It’s offered with the right hand and taken back with the left . . . . . . . . .

Example: “well, there was a mention about your communication style, but some people are too sensitive. Besides, I know how much is on your plate, and if the rest of the team had half your drive …”

It’s directed at the person instead of the behavior:

Example: “You have a history of bad management decisions and this is just the latest example.”

Is perceived as criticism or a veiled threat:

Example: “Your failure to meet goals is becoming obvious to senior leadership.”

Or is not objective, not supported by facts, and too often – delivered in the heat of battle, without much thought about the hidden message or the possible consequences:

Example: “Your performance has been disappointing and I’m beginning to think your qualifications weren’t exactly what you represented when we hired you.”

2. In addition, feedback is often not heard or is discounted when:

The receiver doesn’t trust the person delivering the feedback, believes they have a hidden agenda or biased point of view

The feedback contradicts previous feedback – perhaps due to a change in culture or direction, new leader, or decision to provide clear feedback when it hasn’t been provided in the past

Expectations, rewards and consequences have been discussed or promised in the past, but have not been implemented [leadership hasn’t ‘walked the talk’]

And in addition… because the receiver does not have a level of self-confidence and self-awareness to accept even the best-intentioned, valid feedback and use it to improve their performance and career opportunities.

Recommendations to improve performance feedback – and results – next time.  Meanwhile, your experiences with giving and receiving performance and leadership feedback are welcome. www.thestage1.com

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