Try this for one week. We predict you’ll see dramatic results. Periodically, IGC will post additional leadership challenges just like this. Let us know what you think!
Leadership challenge #1
Adopt a new practice: informal feedback
Challenge yourself to give eight pieces of informal feedback each day for five days in a row. This means once every hour, notice something a direct report, peer or senior leader does, tell them about it and why it made an impact. It’s that simple. Here’s an example:
“Hey Simon, thanks so much for replacing those three text-heavy slides with one slide showing a bar chart. Everyone immediately understood the ideas and it made the conversation more constructive.”
Feedback drives performance, especially informal, frequent, and accurate feedback.
Informal: Rather than wait for a formal meeting, share your feedback as you walk down the hall with someone or when you have a minute to stop by their desk. Notice something and let them know. Right away.
Frequent: The important thing is to create a habit of frequently giving informal feedback, with a greater ratio of positive to negative. The exact amount depends on the context—is the other person local or remote? Are you working closely on a project at the moment or not?
Accurate: Describe the person’s behaviour factually. Try to avoid judgements such as “sloppy” and instead describe their specific actions: “I found three typos in your report.” It’s a good start to let someone know they are “helpful,” and even more effective if you accurately describe what they did that you consider helpful! That way they can do more of it next time: “Thanks for taking the initiative to contact the venue to confirm the reservation. It helped us avoid any confusion.”
Remember, offering your feedback helps others perform better by setting expectations, reinforcing the behaviours you want and redirecting the behaviours you do not want. Frequent, informal, accurate feedback “holds up a mirror” to others and lets them know their actions, no matter how small, matter.
After one week, assess what you have learned from the practice, what impact it has had on you and others, and what changes you have seen. Then, create your own habit of frequent, informal feedback that works for you.
Make it easy: If you notice and offer four pieces of informal feedback in your first meeting of the day…you only have four more to go for the rest of the day! 40 bits of feedback is a lot but don’t let the count get in the way of the effort. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try…
Caitlin McClure is an Associate at Impact Americas.