3 great feedback methods

for high team motivation

3 great feedback methods for high team motivation

If you truly want to thrive in your team, giving great feedback to you colleagues is the way forward. What I am about to share with you is psychologically anchored and it works with tremandous effect.

I have witnessed many teams become better, more effective and much more powerful in their interdependant performances.

Great feedback ensures that you create an atmosphere that is bursting with energy, trust and respect. Who wouldn't like to be part of such a work environment?

The core of the 3 methods for great feedback

First and foremost the 3 feedback methods all deals with yourself, and your self-awareness. In particular your awareness of being flexible, temporarily putting your ego aside and being there for someone else.

And in addition, the methods are all anchored in your perception of your colleagues. It is important that you understand this, because great feedback is not just a matter of putting some words together. No, it is so much more.

  • Great feedback is about truly seeing your colleague.
  • Great feedback is making your colleague feel truly respected.
  • Great feedback is choosing a certain perception of your colleague.
  • Great feedback is insisting on raising your colleague up.
  • Great feedback is you having great control of your ego.

The 'why' behind the feedback

For you to use the methods you have to be able to understand these points AND you have to follow them in action. Otherwise the feedback will lead to a countereffect, where your colleague feels manipulated and played by you.

So basically, you have to be authentically convinced that motivating your colleague and bringing something positive in to the world, is the right way forward. There are no fake shortcuts to true motivation of the team.

But there is something for you as well in the equation. It will not go unnoted that you insist on having a positive perception on others. The psychological principle of reciprocity will kick in, and feedback recipients will also begin to frame you positively.

So basically, what I am encouraging you to do, is to create some positive spirals in your life and in the lifes of others. That is the ulterior motive of this article - pay it forward.

The 'how' behind the feedback

Based on the five points we can approach how to give feedback. It is really easy, and everyone should master this tool, when they enter a team. The best part is that it is not to late for you to learn.

Just finish reading this article, and tomorrow you will be able to connect with your colleagues through great feedback.

The incident

I will explain the 3 methods for great feedback based on a scenario. This way it is easier to transpose the principles in to your own world. Here goes.

Brian had been working over time for months now, but still he had not managed to get through the endless emails from clients, who wanted his assistance.

It was getting quite stressful, not only for Brian himself, but also for the colleagues around him. Often Brian would skip lunch, he was not taking part in the joyful banter anymore and he seemed to retract into himself on many occations.

One day he snapped, provocatively yelling to Robert: "You should be able to do that without my help by now!"

Not a trace of friendlyness or irony, just contempt. In that moment he was really rude towards Robert in front of the whole office. And what was Robert guilty of? The only thing he had done, was to ask Brian to proof read an offer that he was about to be send to a client. A weird and heavy atmosphere filled the room, and insisted on staying for the rest of the day.

You had witnessed the incident, and took it upon you, to give Brian feedback the following day. You chose to give him feedback based on the 3 methods for great feedback, weaving them into a bundle that fit the situation.

"Brian, may I give you some great feedback some time today? I really believe you can benefit from it.

My intention is purely to contribute positively to your personal performance."

Brian let you know that he apprecited to be given the choice to find a good time for the feedback, so he accepted your invitation. At the right time, Brian came up to you and with a reluctant, yet curious voice said that he was now ready for the feedback.

The specific feedback

You said to Brian:

"I have noticed that you have been working really hard over the past months. You come to the office early, and you are often the last one to leave. It is often a super human effort that you bring to the team. Your contribution is without doubt making all of us successful. Truly. And I want to thank you for that. You giving us so much, I wonder, is it not at you own expense? I know that delivering at your level with plus 80hours/week is rarely sustainable over longer periods of time."

Brian seemed surprised at first, waiting for more, knowing that yesterdays' outburst was not the coolest reaction ever. He answered:"Thank you for seeing me, and for recognizing the dedication that I put it my job. It is an uphill battle sometimes. I expected more of Robert yesterday, I just want him to be more sure of himself. Maybe I should apologize to him?"

"I am sure that Robert would appreciate an apology. That will be you taking the high road. Great. But, what I think is even more important, is that you calibrate your work engagement. How does that sound?" Brian reflected for a while and said: "Yeah, I guess it is slowly getting to me." Immediately you caught his acknowledgement of you suggestions and replied: "Brian, who would benefit from you gearing down just a bit?"

"I can spend more quality time with my familiy, my colleagues will meet a happier me, and would not balance all the time on the brink of catastrophee."

"That sounds very insightsful, Brian. I surely want to keep you for a long time here buddy, I want to keep being inspired by you. How can I or the whole team help you to reduce your workload, or remove some of the stressors? You know that best. Can you come up with some solutions in two days?

Identify two clients that your are happy to give to the team. You can name who you believe should be responsible."

Brian accepted, and two days later he handed over two of the most time consuming clients. Reluctantly, but aware of the benefit for the team.

1) Great feedback involves you recognizing competence

Whenever you address somebody with the clear signal that you see and recognize a specific competence in them, they will listen to you. Brian hears you, and agrees with your judgement, and will now be interested in how much you actually and honestly have noticed regarding how much he is doing for the team. His competences comprise the specific sacrifices he is giving and the specific efforts that he is doing. "Do you see and recognize this?", Brian is thinking.

Make sure that you recognize these two areas at the beginning of your feedback. This will frame the whole conversation, and will make Brian open up and give you his self-awareness in return: "I know I am not perfect, and I should probably admit that to Robert." He will only do this, if he feels safe around you.

Great feedback involves this element: can you make the recipient feel truly competent in a skill related to the incident? This is key. Make sure that he realizes that you notice and approve his grounded convictions of himself. He is working hard, and his conviction is that working hard is the right way forward. Working hard is a habit, a skill, a trait that he identifies with. Working hard is his hallmark, it is his contribution to the team, which is why it is also the portal to great feedback.

Every human being wants to master something, wants to be good at something and wants to develop certain skills. And it is usually quite different, what people want to master. No matter what we want to master, we usually also want recognition for it. And the recognition should be woven into the feedback.

It is difficult to appraise someone for an expertise, which you also master. It is as if this person is stealing some of your glory. Even harder though, giving someone motivational feedback who does not really deserve it.

First part of the 3 great feedback methods can be summed up to this: Identify what people want to master and prove to them that you recognize their skill, and what they are putting into that skill.

2) Great feedback involves you creating a safe environment

Let us follow the trail of thought that I revealed just before. If you can create a safe and trustful environment, free of judgment and repraisal, your feedback will transform into motivation and inspiration. Are you such a person?

A person that is inoffensive and ready to embrace others at their weakest? This demands a let of self-awareness and ego-control from your part.

When you accept people at their weakest - not immediately judging them, disapproving them or trying to rectify their behaviour, because it is not good enough for you - you are sending important signals:

  • You can be yourself, I accept you as you are.
  • You are allowed to be imperfect around me.
  • You don't have to fight, flight or freeze, because I don't have to.
  • You can expect positive affection from my part.
  • Our connection is deeper than whatever is at play here.

If you can send these signals the the recipient, then you will deliver great feedback that is highly motivational. We are all attracted to those who see more than just the surface. Actually, they want to have long lasting relations of friendly nature with these persons, who have a true interest in their well-being.

Second par of the 3 great feedback methods can be summed up to this: Create an ambiance around you that is truly safe and full of comfort. Anatmosphere of harmony and space, where people can find shelter, especially when they are having a bad day.

3) Great feedback involves you letting people make their own choices and find their own way forward.

In feedback there is obviously someone who gives the feedback, and someone who recieves the feedback. However, the recipient does not have to accept your feedback, nor put your suggestions into immediate action. the he has to accept before acting upon it.

This should not come as a surprise. To various extents every human being likes to be the conductor of their own life. They are inclined to make choices that are aligned with their convictions, habits values, throughts, feelings and preferences. Actually, those are the only choices we would truly follow.

Your analysis in the situation was that Brian had too heavy a workload. And you let him know that. You even suggested to releave him of some of the burdens on his shoulders. However, all along you suggestions, it was Brians own pace that dictated the tempo. And the key here is that his self-awareness in onboard your feedback process.

If you move to fast and lose his similar interpretations, he will never put your suggestions to action. You anchored his motivation in the specific and tangible benefits for his family, his colleagues and himself. That is a platform can identify with. That is his trampoline for change.

Third part of the 3 great feedback methods can be summed up to this: Help people find their own voice by nursing their trail of thought. Let them make their own choices in accordance with their integrated self.

Great feedback - what is it all about?

Great feedback in the team is all about looking at your team mates with a curious, interested and benevolent eye. In the case of Brian, you motivated him to apologize to Robert and find a plan forward. You accomplished all this with stepping on his toes, without triggering any ego-defenses and without instructing him what to do. Instead, you connected with him empathicly, clearly painting your understanding of how it is to be in his shoes.

Once he felt certain that the lens your were looking through was not one of judgement or correction, he was brave enough to open up and be vulnerable in your presence. It is difficult to stay out of judgement, it is difficult to embrace a person with obvious flaws, it is difficult to avoid telling him what to do. But this is the way forward with great feedback.

Check out our workshop Motivational Feedback if you want your team to move forward in a sound way.

Ambitious Teams

Ambitious Teams ApS

Tom Fisker Jørgensen

Helenelyst 73

8220 Brabrand

Tlf: 0045 50699939

Mail: tjorgensen@ambitiousteams.com


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