Exciting times at Kissing With Confidence Towers this week. Shoes are being polished, outfits pressed, shoulders and necks loosened as we limber up for a stint on the dance floor on Friday night. Sharon, our amazing MD, has just passed a significant birthday milestone (yep, she’s packed a lot into her 21 years) and we’re gathering to celebrate.
We’re very lucky as a team. We go out regularly to lunch, chew the fat, have a good laugh and get to know each other better that way. Friday night will build our team spirit further, but it won’t just be us in attendance - there will be myriad family and friends there too to give Sharon the party she deserves. Although I’m not really sure she “deserves” my speciality dance move, “The Worm” – that’s best left for another time, even if we are having an 80’s disco.
But that’s not the only way that we build our team spirit. We do it through regular conversations about development, progress, success and the dreaded f-word.***
In the course of a feedback and coaching training session recently, a delegate asked, admittedly to my surprise, “Why would you give somebody feedback on something they’re already good at? Surely they know that already?” But on further reflection, these were two useful questions for me to hear, and move the discussion along with the group, casting as it did further light on a) people’s views on the value of, and, b) the purpose of feedback.
So, why do we give feedback, first of all? Well, because:
- sometimes people are intuitively good at a particular skill or process – they need to understand the value that that skill/process brings to the whole show
- it increases their self-awareness, and an understanding of others’ perspectives on their performance
- it gives them really specific information about what, precisely, to keep on doing more of (“Great job at the meeting today” is poor feedback; it doesn’t help the person understand which bit was great) and finally
- it does provide a balance to constructive feedback ie what to do less of/stop/do differently. Both are necessary. But if you only ever give/receive constructive feedback it’s usually, ultimately, demotivating
Much has been made of the fact that a lot of organisations are moving away from the six-monthly or yearly appraisal in favour of regular feedback. That’s great, so long as the culture of these organisations genuinely allows for people to have open discussions (both sides) about what they are doing well, or not, and how to address the gaps, and that people have been trained in the art of both giving and receiving feedback. It looks easy when you see it done well, but it’s much harder – hence our sessions give people lots of opportunity to practise both.
Friday night will be a blast. All feedback will be positive, and that’s an easier proposition in the delivery of feedback. But if all we ever did was focus on the social stuff, it would be to the detriment of the operational and strategic success of business, which turns on a cornerstone of people as well as technical skill. So give feedback when things are good as well as when there needs to be a “correction” in performance – your team will thank you for it, and so, ultimately, will your business.
We hope you have a great Friday night lined up, but if not, enjoy your weekend and let us know if you’d like to join the “party” in one of our training sessions sometime soon.
***failure, for the avoidance of any doubt. We do like to keep it clean, you know.