Episode from the podcastThe Boss Hat with Barbara Nixon

Episode 10 - The Boss Hat

Released Monday, 18th January 2016
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Hi everyone – thanks for listening today. Hope you’re doing great. Today is the 10th and final day of the Boss Hat launch. So, for the last 10 days we’ve had an episode a day – after today we’re going to be going to a weekly show with an episode being published every week.

So – if you’ve not already done so it’d be great if you subscribed so you can listen in regularly.

OK – so, for today we’re going to be talking about something that makes a lot of people squirm in their seats – and that’s feedback. Now what do I mean by feedback? The term feedback for me is where you receive information that you can use to help you to improve your performance. Now, this could be positive in terms of confirmation that you’re doing a great job. It could be recognition of the work that you do in the form of praise and thanks and I’ll cover that in a future episode, or it could come in the form of constructive feedback outlining things where you need to change, adapt in order to improve.

Now, for a lot of managers the thought of giving and receiving feedback does make them squirm, as there’s often a bit of a negative connotation attached to the term where people just think they’re going to be criticised. But this doesn’t have to be the case. If you think of it this way – feedback is a tool to help you develop and develop other people. If you were an athlete you’d rely on feedback as you’d need that to get better. You’d need to know where you went wrong, how you can perfect your performance so that you can keep getting better. We even welcome feedback from our customers – after all feedback about the service we’re offering helps us to improve – but for some reason feedback for managers isn’t something that is always welcomed.

So – for todays episode I’d like to share a quick and easy way to ask for feedback. I’d also like to share a quick tip for giving feedback, which is useful especially if you’re not particularly comfortable with this, and I’d also like to share with you why you should be actively asking for feedback if you don’t already do this.

Right then – let’s start with the last one that I mentioned – and that is why you should be actively asking for feedback from your team.

Now, as I’ve already mentioned feedback is a gift. It’s information about how you can improve, and make some tweaks to what you’re doing to get better results. The other thing that it does is show you how you’re perceived by other people – which is good information to have. Sometimes we think we’re doing a good job, but it’s just not coming across that way with your team as perception is reality.  Now, I know that you can’t please everyone – and that’s not what I’m talking about – as just because you got some feedback you don’t have to use it. That remains your choice. But there are so many benefits to receiving feedback – and the main one is so you can improve and you can understand how you’re perceived which will help you make any adjustments in order to progress and develop. The tricky thing here is how to actually get the feedback – and the simplest and quickest way is to just ask. You could start by asking someone you trust to give you feedback on how you come across just in day to day activities or in meetings and you can always return the favour. This will get the ball rolling and give you something to work with quite quickly.

You can also ask your team after maybe a 1-1 meeting with them. For example – at the end of the meeting just before you leave you could simply ask if they’ve any feedback for you so that you can keep improving. Now you may find that the first few times you do this your team member may just  say no in which case that’s fine and just move on. However, as they get more used to being asked the question they may feel more comfortable to share something.

It’s worth mentioning here that when you ask for feedback and when someone gives you some feedback you need to take it well – and not get offended or defensive about it. After all it’s just their opinion and they’re being brave to share it with you. So, thank them and digest it, making sure that you don’t take it personally or hold it against them in the future.

Ok – so let’s now move on to talking about how to actually give feedback. Now this is often something that managers struggle with as they don’t want to upset someone and they find it quite a nerve wracking thing to do – but it does need to be done. What you don’t want is for something to be left – that could otherwise have been dealt with quite quickly and easily – to then blow up into something much bigger further down the line, as by ignoring something that needed to be nipped in the bud you’re inadvertently setting a precedent for the rest of the team that that behaviour is ok – and potentially even affecting your credibility as a manager as others in the team wonder why it wasn’t dealt with.

So – if this is you a very quick and easy way to give feedback is to follow the feedback sandwich process.

That starts with some positive, then the negative, and then the positive again. So you’re sandwiching the negative in the middle of some praise. I also like to end on a suggestion where you tell them what they should or could be doing instead.

So, there are my feedback tips for today if you’d also like to share your experience or views on feedback pop on over to barbaranixon.co.uk and leave a comment.

And that also ends our launch of the Boss Hat launch – we’re not going away – but moving from every day now to a weekly slot. If you’d like to keep listening please do subscribe and if you’d like to hear more from me and how I can support you to develop as a manager and leader sign up at barbaranixon.co.uk

And I’ll see you next time.