The process of feedback – a two-way street!

24 March 2020

I recently finished reading “Powerful” by Patty McCord and there’s two takeaways that have stuck with me that I thought I’d share.

The first one is the process of feedback.

Personally, I’ve always loved feedback. It’s an opportunity for me to get better and shed light on areas of my professional development that might have previously been blind spots. I know this is not the case for all people and as a leader in a business this is something I’ve become very conscious of.

How we frame and present feedback is extremely important, and I can honestly say that I’ve not always gotten it right – whether it is being too nice and sugar-coating things or leaving feedback too late.

Every month I have a one-on-one catch up with each of my team members. To date this has been used as a check-in tool to see how they are doing, manage workload, discuss any challenges they may be facing, etc. This has been a great rapport builder and gives me the opportunity to get to know each of them as individuals – both personally and professionally, as understanding what matters to your team is paramount in supporting them through their career journey.

One of the tools that Patty talks about in “Powerful” that I started implementing into these one-on-one meetings just this month is the concept of “Start, Stop, Continue” and it works like this:

The team member and I do our regular check in and then go through the process of giving each other feedback (yes, they give me feedback too!):

Start – Identify something that the other person is not currently doing, that they should start doing.

Stop – Identify something that the other person is doing that they need to stop, or work on.

Continue – Identify something that the other person is doing currently that they do well and should keep doing.

I have to say that the above will only work if you’ve built a relationship of trust with your employees. Trust that you are giving open and honest feedback that will help them progress and likewise that you are open to their feedback. It’s a two-way street.

The second take away I took from the book was that the biggest perk that you can give your team is hiring other high performers. Yes, bonuses and social activities and all the typical nice incentives are great, but what’s even better is being surrounded by people who you know love what they do and will go the extra mile to do it. If you don’t, you’ll find that your high performers end up being the ones that need to pick up the slack and subsequently get burnt out.

This is something, as a small business leader, that can be challenging, particularly when you are trying to grow. There is always a need for more hands-on deck but I am committed to waiting for the right people. In the long run it works out better in everyone’s favour – it means less retention issues, team moral remains high, and we create a cohesive work environment where everyone thrives.  

 Article written by Emma Challands
 General Manager, Cerno