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Your Weekly Leadership HVA (High Value Activity)

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Hello Lifelong Learner ...

Here's the next in our series of weekly managerial TIPS (Techniques, Insights, and Practical Solutions) to help you better engage your team in the activities that lead to higher performance.

CORE Bites #16: Whether you're involved in a long-term relationship with a significant other or not, you'll still be able to answer this question: If two people spend a significant portion of their lives together, what's the likelihood they'll occasionally have a difference of opinion? Is it a 37% likelihood? A 63% likelihood? No! It's a 100% likelihood that they'll have an occasional difference of opinion. So, if we know this is an absolute certainty, wouldn't it make sense that two people in a relationship would want to agree — in advance of any conflict or tension — on the best method to resolve this conflict? Wouldn't this be the mature and respectful way to proactively defuse tension in the relationship? If this makes sense to you, then I need to ask another question: If a supervisor and an employee work together long enough what are the chances they'll have an occasional difference of opinion? I'm sure you see where I'm going with this ... it's also an absolute certainty.

This CORE Bites topic will be delivered in two parts because of its importance to your success as a manager of people. The hard reality is you might be excellent at setting goals; outstanding at planning and organizing; exceptional in managing process; but if you're only marginal at establishing a feedback-receptive work environment — I'm sorry to deliver this news — but your team will never realize its full potential.

The first segment of this CORE Bites topic (this week) will cover how to lay the foundation for increased receptivity to feedback, and the second segment (next week) will cover how our individual style and approach can either enhance this receptivity or compromise it.

High Value Activity (HVA) Action Step: Here are a couple of HVA action steps you can take to lay the foundation for increased receptivity to feedback:

  • Focus and Intention: If the main reason you give feedback is because it's part of your job or because it's on the coaching checklist, this needs to change! When employees understand your feedback focus is on them — their success, their growth, their well-being — your feedback has a much better chance of successful delivery. And when feedback is heard and accepted, it's infinitely more likely to be applied. Try a variation on this feedback pre-positioning statement with your team: “I'm sure you would agree that we operate in a continuous learning environment and that the learning never stops. This means we learn from the things that go well ... and also from the things that don't. So when I give you individual feedback on something that didn't go well, my intention is purely on the learning and what can be done in the future to prevent that situation from recurring. Let me be clear, I strive for continuous improvement, instead of perfection. I'm here to help you grow and develop and reach your full potential and feedback is a great tool for continued learning.”
  • Learn about Their Feedback Preferences: Individual sensitivity to feedback varies tremendously, and the more you know about how an employee prefers feedback the better you'll be in improving upon his or her receptivity to future feedback. Try a variation on this feedback pre-positioning statement (using a hypothetical situation): "Mark, if I notice a learning opportunity or an improvement opportunity in the work that you do, I'm sure you'd want me to provide that feedback. What is the preferred approach you'd like me to take in delivering this information?" Another technique that works well is during a team meeting ask everyone to provide a detailed description of how they view their continuous learning/growth and preferred methods for receiving feedback (both positive and constructive). By personalizing your feedback relationships with each individual employee, you protect yourself from giving ineffective and/or potentially offensive criticism.

I'd love to hear how this HVA works for you!

Have a brilliant day ... and enjoy the journey!


Neil Dempster, PhD, MBA

RESULTant and Behavioral Engineer


"I think it’s very important to have a feedback loop, where you are constantly thinking about what you’ve done and how you could be doing it better." — Elon Musk 


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