It’s performance review season again, striking fear into the hearts of managers and employees alike. This is mainly because feedback conversations only happen once or twice a year rather than as a normal part of everyday life. Why do these important conversations happen so infrequently? Lots of reasons! Managers may feel unprepared, they may fear the emotional reactions that can happen (in themselves and others), or they may realize their importance and delicate nature, but lack the confidence or skills to do a good job.
Just because performance reviews were covered in corporate training doesn’t mean the management team thoroughly understands the value of them. Properly conducting a Performance Review, Conflict resolution and successfully noticing emerging leaders are key skills for leaders in Calgary business. A little bit of structure and preparation can go a long way to making these conversations easier and more effective for everyone. This means preparing exactly how you want to approach the discussion, as well as having your views and facts ready. Giving some thought to the purpose of the conversation and the message you need to convey beforehand. We suggest using these five simple steps of B.R.A.I.N. to set your feedback conversations up for success.
Describe the situation or event and their behaviour specifically. Vagueness and ambiguity is not your friend. People need specific examples of what you mean. Behaviour means words or action and these can be observed as facts. Avoid judging or labelling though. Instead of saying “Why did you get so angry at Bob?” try, “When you raised your voice and pointed your finger at Bob, what was going on for you?”
R: Reveal the Impact
Helping others understand how their actions impact you and/or other people can help them see how others experience them and help them make changes to their approach. Reveal the impact that their behaviour had on you. How did it make you think and feel? What was the impact on others that you observed? What are the reactions you saw? (However, don’t assume you know exactly how they felt). For example, “I was surprised and confused when you raised your voice and pointed your finger at Bob. My view is that this wasn’t fair to Bob. And I noticed Bob stayed silent for the rest of the meeting.”
A: Ask Great Questions
A great feedback conversation is a two-way dialogue, even though some managers may think its an opportunity to finally speak their minds. Rather than a management-monologue, which will likely drive the other person into silence or defensiveness, this is a golden opportunity ask questions and listen to their views with an open mind. It’s guaranteed you don’t know their side of the story completely, nor their true intentions. Seek to understand their perspective before you share yours. Be willing to change your opinion based on what you hear. This creates safety for them to speak and builds trust which is critical to defusing any defensiveness. For example, “What did you think Bob’s reaction would be when you raised your voice and pointed at him?” Or, “what do you think will happen on our team if you continue to react like this during team meetings?”
I: Invite their Ideas
Rather than tell people how you think they should change, first ask for their ideas on how they could speak or act differently. They will be far more committed to the change they need to make if it begins with their own idea. If they are hesitant or their answer is lacking, encourage them to think a little more. Once you have fully heard their thoughts, ask if you can add your suggestions to build on theirs. It’s OK to set your expectations for a different approach or behaviour (the change in What they need to do), however ask for their suggestions on How they can get there. For example, “You’ve agreed that the team, and Bob in particular, didn’t enjoy your reaction this morning. And you know that it was also not OK with me. In the future, I’d like to see you share your views in a way that helps everyone’s opinions be heard so we can all come to the best conclusion. How do you think you could do that?”
N: Next Steps
Just like a well-run meeting, make sure every feedback conversation ends with clear commitments and next steps. This means both of you! The conversation is not concluded until they agree to change something and you offer support. Don’t be vague about this. Makes sure it’s clear exactly what each of you is committing to, and by when. Ideally, you agree to a follow-up conversation where you can discuss how they are doing with the changes they are making, how you are both doing with your commitments, and invoking a continuous cycle and expectation of ongoing feedback. For example, “OK so you’re saying that at next week’s meeting you’re going to try paraphrasing and asking questions to make sure you understand Bob’s thoughts. This will help calm any frustration you might feel so you don’t react this way again”. Check in by asking “Have I got that right?”. “Then we’ll have a quick chat after the meeting to check in on how you did. How does that sound to you?
Try this BRAIN approach in Calgary AB as you go into the performance review season and enjoy more comfortable and open conversations that create opportunities for learning and growth. Use it to start an ongoing process of continuing great feedback and to create more frequent opportunities for you to coach and develop your people.
If you think your management team needs leadership development and management development training so your company is putting its’ best steps forward contact Leadersharp today. We help Calgary Businesses every day by coaching effective leaders who are building a better future for their company and its’ employees.