As we land in this final stage of the Mentoring Process, Maintaining a Feedback Loop, I promised in my last post to talk about the 3 keys to the effective delivery of feedback. I believe feedback (especially developmental or corrective) is like a knife- it can heal or destroy. So these 3 keys ( the 3 A’s) set the safe environment for healing. Lets jump in:

  • A – attitude. If feedback is to be received – the attitude of the delivery must be managed. There is no yelling or angry deprecating. An attack mode is not only unhealthy it is also unhelpful (and probably unholy).
  • A – audience. Initial feedback should always be one on one. When corrective feedback is received in a group setting (a setting that the person receiving the feedback did not anticipate or invite) it is often rejected. Not only will helpful feedback be rejected – it may also turn the person on the defensive and thus loose the moment you were trying to create.
  • A – alternatives. Some people feel they have a gift for “seeing things that are wrong”. They say things like – “I don’t want to be seen as negative, I just have a gift”. This approach often ends with describing what we are doing wrong. Although the feedback may be correct – when our finish line is what went wrong – we miss the mark. I do not believe being critical is a gift (at least it is not from God!). Our goal can never be to merely point out what is wrong – we need alternatives for improvement. That moves us from merely finding what is wrong – to focusing on solutions.

I believe feedback is the breakfast of champions and is extremely important to becoming an effective leader. My next posts are going to be on these three topics:

  • How to receive feedback – because feedback is a two way street – we need to know how to receive it as well as give it.
  • How to give developmental or corrective feedback and
  • How to give supportive or positive feedback.

process leadership