Project Leadership and Encouraging Feedback

Giving encouraging feedback is one of the most important communication skills you can engage in with members of your project team.  And like all project leadership skills, it takes practice to build your confidence and improve. The following is a “formula” for giving encouraging feedback that you can start using with your project team—today.

  1. “I have some feedback to pass along to you about __________________;   is now a good time?”
  2. “When you ____________(a statement that describes the behavior without judgment, exaggeration, labeling, attribution, or motives–state the facts as specifically as possible)
  3. Choose from any one of these three or some combination:

—  “I feel _____________, (Tell how their behavior(s) affect you. If you need more than a word or two to describe the feeling, it’s probably just a variation of joy, sorrow, anger or fear.)

—  “Because I ______________, (Now say why you’re affected that way.) when you do _________________________.” (Describe the connection between the facts you observed and the feelings they provide in you.)

—   “I believe it would be helpful for you to ___________________________”

—  “I would prefer ___________________________________________”

(Describe the change you want the other person to consider.)

4. Choose from any one of these four or some combination

    —  “How do you see the situation?  (Let the other person respond.)
    —  “What do you think?” or “How do you feel about ____________________?” (Be prepared to discuss options and collaborate on a solution.)
    —  “What are your thoughts on this?” (Listen to the other person’s response)

5. “Thank you, _______________, for listening—I appreciate it”

Adapted from The Heart of Coaching, Thomas G. Crane, 2007.

When done in the right way and with the right intentions, encouraging feedback is
the road to performance greatness. Project team members have to know what they are doing well and not so well. For them to really hear your thoughts and suggestions on ways to improve, that feedback has to be encouraging and delivered frequently.

(For more on this topic, see: Learning Tree, Intl — Course 222, 3 days: Leadership
Skills: Developing Success Through Teamwork)

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