You see Pete doing a job and he is not wearing his safety goggles. So, at your tool box meeting the following morning you tell everybody ‘You need to up your game and stop being slack about safety around here.’
You arrive at the office and find the team on task and working well. So, you drop by the staff café at morning tea time and tell them all ‘You’re doing a great job team, keep up the good work’.
Rants and rah-rah
You think you were giving feedback. But what you really did was have a rant and a rah-rah moment. You are suffering from the plague of the vague.
Phrases like ‘up your game’, ‘stop being slack’, ‘great job’ and ‘keep up the good work’ don’t give your team any meaningful information about what they need to do or what they have been doing well. Although your intentions were good, what you said will have little or no positive effect on performance and productivity.
Feedback that produces positive results needs to be given with the confidence of clarity. You can do that by making sure your feedback is SPOT ON:
A couple of examples
(Check them against the Spot On checklist. Notice how even a single statement can pass more than one test.)
When you see Pete not wearing his safety goggles, give him feedback ‘Pete if you keep doing that job without wearing safety goggles you could end up blind. Stop what you are doing and put your safety goggles on.’
When you arrive at the office and find the team on task and working well. Drop by the staff café at morning tea time and tell them, ‘I’m impressed by the focused effort you are all putting into the ABC contract at present. We are all achieving our targets and we are on track to meet the deadline.’