But What Do I Actually Say?
Giving Effective Feedback
At work, people are supposed to be busy – setting some effective goals should help to ensure that! So, your staff members are getting on with their jobs – do you think they would like to know how they are getting on? How about providing some feedback? New managers often struggle here – it’s tricky to give the feedback, whilst keeping emotions out. The EECCC model (often referred to as E squared C cubed) will help:
E is for Example
If you’re looking to say the right words in the right way, then start by giving them a specific, factual, evidence-based example of the behaviour under discussion. Remember to separate fact from opinion – talk to them about what they have said or done, not what you think of them because of it! You should be saying ‘I’d like to discuss your timekeeping, as I noticed you came in 10 minutes late this morning’, as opposed to ‘your timekeeping is atrocious’, which is not just an opinion, but also provocative and insulting!
E is for Effect
Having delivered the example of the behaviour, you may encounter ‘so what’ syndrome – ok, so I was 10 minutes late? Who died? If it means that much to you, I’ll stay an extra 10 minutes tonight. It’s not a big deal! It’s great that they’re offering to make up the time, but their behaviour is a concern because you can see the effect it’s having on the team and it needs to stop. Explain this to the employee – because they were late, we nearly missed a deadline. You needed some vital information from them, and they weren’t there. Other team members had to cover for them and they weren’t happy. In addition, other team members have begun to copy their behaviour. This really needs to stop!
C is for Check
The above techniques should help you to gain agreement that they need to get their behaviour back on track, but it’s always good to check that they’re ok with the feedback: ‘So, can you see why I felt the need to discuss this with you?’ They may indulge in a spot of deflection strategy – ‘Ok, so I was late, but other team members do it too! What are you going to do about that?’ Reassure them that the other staff will be spoken to , but this conversation is about them, so let’s get back on track!
C is for Change or Correct
Now we have agreement, ask them what they will do to change or correct the behaviour: ‘I need to know that as of tomorrow morning, you will be at work on time. What will you do to make sure that happens?’ It’s important to get their input here, as they are more likely to buy into their own ideas. If they are really stuck, you could offer some suggestions.
C is for Consequences
You can reinforce your message by reminding them that, if the behaviour does not improve, there may well be consequences: ‘I really need to see improvement here, because if not, I may have to consult HR regarding disciplinary measures. You need to be aware of that.’
When discussing key principles of giving feedback, people often ask ‘that’s great, but what do I actually say?’ The EECCC model provides a framework for sentence construction. Give a specific, factual example of the behaviour and the effect you can see that it’s having on the team. Check with them for understanding and agreement, and ask what they will do to change or correct the behaviour. If necessary, remind them of the potential consequences of not correcting it. Now, go and give some feedback!