Giving effective feedback is one of those skills that we expect people to know how to do well. Yet many managers admit they struggle when it comes to tough conversations.
At the same time business literature is full of accounts that millennials want more feedback than annual performance reviews. Some organizations create more issues by formalizing real time feedback in a way that is formulaic and exhausting for people already burned out by time sucking meetings and communication overload.
Here’s where we need to get real.
Effective feedback doesn’t originate in corrective conversations.
Feedback is a natural and integral part of EVERY human interaction.
Emotional intelligence determines our capacity for net positive interactions.
Emotional intelligence can be developed and improved with practice.
While there are terrific books on how to have tough and crucial conversations we do our leaders and managers a disservice by not helping them to have a safe way to practice their soft skills.
Here are typical verbatims I get when I do workshops on effective feedback and emotional intelligence topics. They fall into two categories:
- Participants want more time for face to face practice. “I really liked the group activities.” “Wish we had an 8 hour class with more time for role play.” “It was interesting to hear different viewpoints on how to approach my situation.”
- Everyone needs this opportunity. “What suggestions do you have for material I can share with my teams?” “Is this topic being pushed to senior leadership?” “Everyone should have an opportunity to practice this.” “I wish this was a required class for management.”
Experiential learning opportunities designed to create a safe practice space are essential for developing any soft skill.
Unfortunately, we leave it to even the most motivated managers and leaders to learn by making mistakes.
Without a safe way to practice managers and supervisors develop bad habits that follow them throughout their career until they end up as a note on my feedback forms.