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I just gave some feedback to a contract employee, but gave her the answer to "What should you do differently" after she was not coming up with an acceptable answer.

I know this is incorrect and am asking the group how to best handle this in the future?

Background: The direct was sitting at her desk with nothing to do. I observed the direct for about 5 minutes, seeing what she might do. When she continued to just sit there I approached her.

M: "X, can I give you some feedback"
D: "Yes"
M: "When you just sit at your desk with nothing to do, it makes it appear that you are not interested in being here, what can you do differently"
D: "I was waiting for Y to show me the mail and deposit"
M: "The mail might not be in for an hour, what can you do differently"
D: "F was going to show me..." this is where I answered "When you have nothing to do, you can always ask me, what can you do differently"

D: "I will come to you when I have nothing to do"

I understand I should not have done this, hence this post, looking for feedback myself on what I should do differently. Even though I am not expert at the feedback model, (another area I am working on), I sensed that I was not going to get the answer [b]"I WANTED"[/b]

What can I do better?

Thanks,

TomW's picture

I'd have asked a more leading question, like
"What do you think you should do when you have nothing to do?"
"Where do you think you could find something to do?"
"What other kinds of work could you do?"

Sometimes that "What can you do differently" is a little too vague.

BJ_Marshall's picture

I think you're most the way there to answering your own question. I'm not going to answer it for you, because then I'd be doing the same thing you did with your direct. Ah, hypocrisy! 8)

Here's your observations of your own action as you've given them, fit into the feedback model. You observed your own ineffective behavior (i.e., providing your DR with the answer to the "What can you differently?" question), and you've observed the results (i.e., ineffective feedback, although you have may have more examples). You have three of the four parts of the feedback model complete:

[list]
1. Self, can I give you some feedback? You say, "Um, sure," thinking sardonically about saying "No" first. This launches into an existential debate about what it would mean to deny yourself.
2. When you answer the "What can you differently?" question for your direct, here's what happens:
3. Your feedback is ineffective and your direct report doesn't own the adjusting action. (And whatever other results apply.)
4. [b]What can you, self, do differently next time?[/b] or a variant, as per TomW (great suggestion!)
[/list:u]

We're all learning. It's commendable that you have the desire to reflect on your own behaviors and look for improvements. Well done!

Oh, and don't try to make excuses to try to get out of step 4. We'll just say something like, "I can understand that. Thank you for sharing that with me. And what can you do differently next time?"

Cheers,
BJ

WillDuke's picture

[quote]M: "X, can I give you some feedback"
D: "Yes"
M: "When you just sit at your desk with nothing to do, it makes it appear that you are not interested in being here, what can you do differently"
D: "I was waiting for Y to show me the mail and deposit"
M: "The mail might not be in for an hour, what can you do differently"
D: "F was going to show me..." this is where I answered "When you have nothing to do, you can always ask me, what can you do differently"

D: "I will come to you when I have nothing to do" [/quote]
Okay, so when they reply that they were waiting for something else, simply say. "OK. But when you.... What can you do differently?

I think you got off track responding to their defense. Just acknowledge it and ask again. Listen the the "Shot across the Bow" podcast. It doesn't matter whether they think their rationalization is reasonable, they know that you don't want that behavior.