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Ciao,
I think the feedback model you are providing is GREAT for a manager that has to give feedback to his team.
I have problems in using it with my boss and with my peers: it's not very hard the WHEN YOU part, it's a bit hard the HERE IS WHAT HAPPENS (because often is my 'position' as a peer or as I subordinate), it's almost impossible the WHAT CAN YOU DO DIFFERENTLY.
Feedback? :D
PierG

Mark's picture

PierG-

No, not going to give you feedback - don't have enough data!

Can you give me an example?

As well, when giving adjusting feedback to peers or bosses, some folks I know change step 4 to, "what can WE do differently." Or, "I wanted you to know the impact of your actions." I've also heard, " Maybe you can think about how to do this differently - your call."

I don't use those, but then I'm the guy who teaches this stuff. If a boss can't hear feedback, it's nearly a fatal flaw for me.

Mark

PierG's picture

Well,
aren't the expected behaviours based on my ideas/management style/.. ?
As you said there is no a single receipt for management.

AND events are neutral, it's us attaching them interpratation.

If these assumptions are true, and I'm giving adjusting feedback to a peer or boss, I'm giving them MY interpratation of the behaviour and of the adjusting actions that should be done. And that couldn't be THEIR interpretation.
That's way step 3 and 4 might be different.

PierG

Anonymous's picture

With my Boss, I recently tried this: "Is there something I should be doing differently?" It seemed to be a more respectful way of saying what we both knew i was REALLY saying, which of course, was "What can YOU do differently?"

mauzenne's picture

[quote="Len"]With my Boss, I recently tried this: "Is there something I should be doing differently?" It seemed to be a more respectful way of saying what we both knew i was REALLY saying, which of course, was "What can YOU do differently?"[/quote]

In the past, that's exactly how I've handled it. Occassionally, I've had to be a bit more direct. As Mark said somewhere here, as a consultant he often gets away with being a bit more direct with his clients. I've found that helping my boss "save a little face" goes a long ways ... perhaps there are times that the feedback doesn't get through as quickly as I'd like, but continuing to build the relationship has longer-term and more significant impacts.

Anonymous's picture

[quote="Len"]With my Boss, I recently tried this: "Is there something I should be doing differently?" It seemed to be a more respectful way of saying what we both knew i was REALLY saying, which of course, was "What can YOU do differently?"[/quote]

I agree that while the model itself is still the same, you should vary your approach to respectfully communicate feedback to your boss. Phrasing that has worked for me is: "Can I share something with you? When you...here's what happens...Is there another way we could go about this? / Is there some other way we could approach this?"

Mark's picture

Len-

Thanks for your input. I think you have made a good point - the way you said it works for me.

And now two different thoughts, and I'd love to hear any comments. Suppose one of your team came to you, and clearly laid out a situation where you did something, and there were some negative consequences.

Would you be okay with them using the standard phrasing, "what could you do differently?" In other words, if you gave adjusting feedback to your team, wouldn't it be all right with you for them to deliver similar commentary to you, insofar as it's not personal, it's about performance?

And secondly, anybody giving any POSITIVE feedback to their boss or peers? Step 4 in AFFIRMING feedback would surely be the same, right?

I find it interesting that we stress starting with positive feedback, and folks do that with their teams, but somehow jump right to negative with peers and bosses...

Keep up the great thinking!

Mark

Anonymous's picture

>> Would you be okay with them using the standard phrasing, "what could you do differently?"

Here the problem is the fact that 'what I did gave negative consequences' is questionable. It's questionable even if it's my boss telling me that BUT .... he is the boss, he is somehow taking responsabilities in giving that feedback.

>> And secondly, anybody giving any POSITIVE feedback to their boss or peers?

I'd be doing it MORE! :D

PierG

Gary King's picture

[quote]And now two different thoughts, and I'd love to hear any comments. Suppose one of your team came to you, and clearly laid out a situation where you did something, and there were some negative consequences.

Would you be okay with them using the standard phrasing, "what could you do differently?" In other words, if you gave adjusting feedback to your team, wouldn't it be all right with you for them to deliver similar commentary to you, insofar as it's not personal, it's about performance?

And secondly, anybody giving any POSITIVE feedback to their boss or peers? Step 4 in AFFIRMING feedback would surely be the same, right? [/quote]

I would like to think that I am open enough to hear:[quote]"what could you do differently?"[/quote] but I am sure I have taken it poorly at times.

With regard to my boss I have used similar phrasing to take already posted with some success. A previous boss had a bad habit of starting every group sales meeting with "I don't want to be negative, but..." After several meetings I concluded he did not realize the impact he was having on personnel (especially the younger ones). So I simply waited for the appropriate opportunity and asked him if he would do me a favor. The answer was obviously yes, so I simply asked him to make a concerted effort to start the next meeting on a different note. It worked rather well and he did not feel threatened or challenged.

Mark, in answer to your other question I most definitely give my boss postive feedback. If every discussion is about problems and negatives then it makes for a tough work week. He has, however, admitted privately that he rarely gets positive comments from anyone else.

I guess all of us in the continuum of management (aka non CEO) should consider that we reap what we sow.

Gary

Gary King's picture

Another concept that has paid me good dividends is the 24 hour delay. The more negative the feedback for my boss the more likely I am to collect my thoughts, even to the point of making notes, and then wait a full 24 hours before delivering them. This allows two things. First I can make sure that my response is not emotional, but instead thoughtful. Second, I spend a portion of the down time considering what the motivation might have been. I have never ceased being amazed at how different things sometimes appear once you try to see things through the eyes of the boss. He/she has other considerations and his/hers actions may not have been as unreasonable as they were first perceived.

Gary

MikeK's picture

[quote="Gary King"]
So I simply waited for the appropriate opportunity and asked him if he would do me a favor. The answer was obviously yes, so I simply asked him to make a concerted effort to start the next meeting on a different note. It worked rather well and he did not feel threatened or challenged.
Gary[/quote]

Gary I like this suggestion, I've used something similar with my bosses and it has worked very well. My bosses have typically been very methodical in decision making and got negative response when asking them on the spot what can they do differently. It throws them offguard.

I like to tell them the problem I see and ask if they can think about a resolution or make a suggestion for them to consider or make an effort to do. If I do this, I always followup in a day or two and ask if they thought about it. I usually get a response that they will try not to do/say that again (or whatever the solution I was hoping for) and they are confortable since now it is their decision and they had time to ponder it. Sometimes I've been told that that is not my concern and they are not going to do anything about it. Those are the cases where I'm glad I left it up to them instead of on the spot since that would not go as smoothly in my opinion.

Mike

Mark's picture

Folks-

Sorry I have been so absent from the forums lately! I have been following the commentary, and applaud your thoughts.

I think the most important point I want to make here is that you must be able to RECEIVE Feedback well if you are going to give it. Without this symmetry, in the long run you're not going to get the value out of professional feedback that you could (or should).

I am not going to suggest that YOUR boss should just "get it", so I'm not recommending that you just start giving feedback to your boss willy nilly.

But, don't forget this point: most managers I work with (and that probably means YOU) underestimate their power over their team. Folks, they fear you... and you need go no further than your lack of willingness to give the same feedback to YOUR boss that you say you would be willing to receive to get a sense of how YOUR team feels about you.

That's not ALL about you - most of it is just that BOSS hat you wear. But that's STILL something to consider, and it means all us bosses have hard work in front of us to break down the barriers that roles create.

Remember this when you give feedback. There WILL be fear. Remember their first facial expression.

There will be a chapter in my book about the true underpinnings of GREAT management: LOVE. If you can't deliver feedback with love in your heart, step back and re-thin things.

Great thread! Keep it up!

Mark

MikeK's picture

[quote="mahorstman"]Folks-
There will be a chapter in my book about the true underpinnings of GREAT management: LOVE. If you can't deliver feedback with love in your heart, step back and re-thin things.

Great thread! Keep it up!

Mark[/quote]

Exciting to hear this Mark! I have always been amazed at how simple and thoughtful your feedback examples have been. They truely demonstrate care (or love as you put it) which is not something that is typically the first thing that comes to mind in these situations. One has to be very calm and prepared for such a delivery.

One question about this though. Are your examples absolutely real?? I mean, they almost seem too loving or thoughtful. I would assume the delivery is typically based on that person's personality more. In my experience, what works for one, doesn't work for another as far as how you provide feedback.

Mark's picture

Mike-

Absolutely real. Sorry you have to ask.

I would venture that the difference between you and I is that I don't think feedback is a big deal. People are generally good, and mean well, and sometimes mess up. When things go awry. we talk about it, and leave it lay. I'd have to watch you give feedback to see what you're experiencing.

Yes, a lot of negative feedback over a period of time means something, but only about performance, not about how I feel about a person. I might fire you if you can't do your job, but I'll love you every time I give feedback, and when I fire (or promote) you too.

Are there times when people blow up at me? Sure. But that probably means they've got something going on. If it's big enough, I might table the feedback (remember, it's JUST feedback, it's not a mortal sin) and ask what's up. And we can talk about whatever is bothering them. (though, to be sure, that's why there is a step one...)

Are there times when I slip? Sadly, yes. I am too quick to judge, or use the wrong word, or don't sense something that might make me see something differently. I would argue that a boss that gives LOTS of feedback is, while more likely to make mistakes, is also more likely to grow and develop his team.

Do I modify my delivery based on the person? Sure. Just like the recent podcast suggested.

Do I ever make ABSOLUTELY CLEAR that I will not ever again tolerate something? Yes, but it's rare. VERY rare. If you're "sending a message" regularly, and not giving a lot of positive feedback, you could be predisposing your folks to get jumpy. Maybe not.

The MODEL ALWAYS works. The tone and touch and vocabulary are different.

But maybe the biggest issue is, for me, feedback is like breathing. I do it all the time, and I've gotten good at it, 50,000 at bats later.

And I love it every time I do it. Even when it goes wrong... because then I give myself feedback.

The alternative is the sad and lonely position of most managers - quietly watching their team fail to perform.

It's a privilege to serve you,

Mark

MikeK's picture

[quote="mahorstman"]
And I love it every time I do it. Even when it goes wrong... because then I give myself feedback.
[/quote]

Made me laugh out loud Mark. Thanks.

Feedback does get easier and easier, and I am starting to see the more feedback I give that doesn't go well, the better I'm getting at giving it, so its getting easier and easier.

Some people are just easy to give feedback to and others are not. The tough ones are the ones to really get comfortable with using the feedback model and they prove it works in the long run. I actually enjoy my feedback attempts with the more challenging personallities more since I know I'm learning from those experiences.

Its hard to believe sometimes how hard some people can be to communicate with, even when its positive feedback!!

Thanks again!

Anonymous's picture

Mark,

thanks for mentioning love and management in one go. In fact, the reason I jump out of bed every morning looking forward to work with joy is because I honestly love my colleagues, bosses, team members. Well, And I sometimes get a glimpse that I am not the only one in our group to feel this way. Mind you - I am over 50, so its probably not just youthful madness....

At the same time, we rarely give ourselves the freedom to express this, or to appreciate this privilege. It seems so odd that its hard to believe, it seems to be so much against our culture of criticism and analysis, and feedback as a mechanistic "management tool" rather than an expression of a connection.

Anyway, you have encouraged me immensely to use this feeling. And you have not even yet written your book ;-)

Till

Anonymous's picture

Mark,

thanks for mentioning love and management in one go. In fact, the reason I jump out of bed every morning looking forward to work with joy is because I honestly love my colleagues, bosses, team members. Well, And I sometimes get a glimpse that I am not the only one in our group to feel this way. Mind you - I am over 50, so its probably not just youthful madness....

At the same time, we rarely give ourselves the freedom to express this, or to appreciate this privilege. It seems so odd that its hard to believe, it seems to be so much against our culture of criticism and analysis, and feedback as a mechanistic "management tool" rather than an expression of a connection.

Anyway, you have encouraged me immensely to use this feeling. And you have not even yet written your book ;-)

Mark's picture

Till-

Ahhhh, finally said something about that post. Thank you.

There are only two emotions, love and fear. We poor creatures are driven by emotions (even us engineers), and one might as well choose love as the one to do most of the driving.

Every time I choose love I win. Sometimes it takes a LONG time, but it sure helps me put my head on my pillow.

I'd rather go out of business being who I am than stay in business and become someone at whom I couldn't look in the mirror.

This isn't the fastest way to the top, but it's the best way. And all those senior guys all tell me it's the journey, and not the destination.

Thanks! Glad you were encouraged. That's part of my life's mission - to encourage others.

Mark

esanthony's picture

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Gary King's picture

[quote]This guy has great vision and I think could really turn this situation around so I do not want to appear to him as threatening or complaining. I also want to provide feedback to others when they complain about his habits.[/quote]

Eric-

I too work regularly with a CEO that has, at times, his own personality quirks.

Shouldn't the phone issue really be an admin problem? If his doesn't have one, then he needs one. If he has one and prefers to answer his own phone it clearly is not working. You owe it to him to make sure he realizes it. However, just like comedy, timing and delivery is everything. Some of the previous posts about technique might be workable.

Can you do me a favor....

Can I help find an answer ....

To the subordinates I simply stress the vision part of his personality. Most CEO's have a strong personality and can be misunderstood by skip subordinates. My style is to defend him unless he out bounds with regard basic social behavior (rude, etc) or something around ethics.

I have a basic understanding with the CEO in my organization. I will always speak the truth as I see it (respectivefully of course). He is welcome to take or not take my advice, but I will never tell just what he wants to hear. Because of that he has a different realtionship with me than with others in the org.

Hope my random thoughts help.

Gary

esanthony's picture

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Anonymous's picture

Eric-

Here are two thoughts, if you're uncomfortable with a soft feedback method.

First, analyze him against the DiSC model, and let me know what you see, if you like, and I will tell you what his style probably is.

Then, ask him for guidance rather than feedback. Couch it like this: "Bob, I need some guidance. I have hit a wall on project X, because I need a decision from you regarding item Z. I've left you a couple of voicemails, and sent some mails. Am I supposed to be getting that you want me to move forward without your okay?"

If he says yes, well, it may be time to just recognize that your risks just went up, but you have responsibilities, and you've got to do what you can to achieve them. If he's going to come back to you later and ream you for not consulting him... welcome to the executive world. If it's bad enough, I'd suggest dusting off your resume, his other skills notwithstanding. Look, no offense, but admin or no, I know people running billion dollar companies that have virtually NO staff and have reasonable home lives and aren't alienating themselves from their staffs.

If you're not willing to do that, and there's no change, ask for private time with him late one day, sit down wherever, and say, I love you, man, and people are going to start leaving, me included, if you don't become more effective in this area. If you don't have this good a relationship with him, I'm misreading your mails. If you do, if you truly do have a special relationship, time to take one for the team. Tell him you're willing to do whatever it takes, but it's your sense that if he doesn't change, it won't matter how good he is, or how hard he tries, others won't be able to do what he needs them to do, and he can't do it himself.

I suspect, though, that he'll answer your tactical issue. Do this a couple of times, and see if he picks up on the theme. If he doesn't, the third time, use the tactical issue to point out the strategic weakness:

"I'm worried that others aren't pushing you for this kind of response. In fact, I know it's happening, both internally and externally. Here are some disappointing business results that I feel have come out of this issue. Can you give me some guidance to share with others, or is there something I can do differently to make our work more efficient and effective?"

From this distance, that's what I'd say. Nothing earth-shattering, but it's a question that takes me a week of billable days to solve usually. ;-)

Hope this helps.

Mark

esanthony's picture

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Mark's picture

My pleasure. Sorry I wasn't logged in.

Mark