Be their eyes and ears
Posted by Amy Wilson on December 2, 2009
My directs and I have been having our annual performance discussions recently. I’ve noticed an interesting pattern that I thought I would share – the importance of feedback with good intentions.
I know what you’re thinking: didn’t Meg and Louise write about the annual performance process months ago? Yes, I suck. We’re late. We would fail the performance cycle monitoring test. But, to my credit and my people’s credit – when we do them, we do them right. I put a lot of energy into the document and the conversation. I think about what makes the individual tick and prosper. I think about how they can leverage their strengths to be even better. And, I try my very best to give them feedback throughout the year. In addition, my directs are honest and eager to develop themselves into even better strategists. We have wonderful conversations. And what’s more, we do get better every year.
A couple of hours into the meeting, I always ask the question “What can I do better?” As they sit and contemplate how best to give me a performance review, I usually end up adding “Also, what can I do more of?”
The answer to both is more feedback. Rather than being annoyed by my nit-picky analyses and advice giving, they actually like it. Not only is it helpful to them in doing their jobs better and advancing their career, but it shows how much I genuinely care about them and their success. They feel good about having someone be their eyes and ears out there in the crazy world of business, comfort in knowing that someone is watching out for them and rooting for them.
So the next time you think your feedback is too nit-picky or weird, don’t. Do not question the feedback itself. Instead, question your intentions. Do you care about the person’s career? Do you want them to know that you care? If the intentions are good, the feedback is good. Try it.