At Leading Teams we aspire to be the world’s best facilitators, and this means continually reviewing, reflecting and receiving feedback in order to improve our performance.
We live by the model that we espouse to our clients, which says that by building strong professional relationships that can withstand a genuine conversation around behaviour or performance, you can stay ahead of the game and ultimately improve the performance of your team or yourself as a leader.
The peer review is one tool we use to help clients to learn and model what a genuine conversation can look like.
One of the bigger misconceptions about Leading Teams is the peer review process, and how and why it is used. It’s not about putting someone out the front so the group can pull apart their behaviour or performance. If time and effort haven’t been invested into building relationships then using the peer review, or really any feedback tool, is risky.
The ability to give feedback in a way that engages the individual is a skill, and in turn the ability for that individual to receive the feedback and do something with it is also a skill; both are skills that can be learnt and developed over time. Our role is to help you and your team practice these skills in a safe environment.
It’s important to remember that having a genuine conversation necessitates commitment to working through any potential conflict that arises if you want to use it to help improve performance.
Responding to feedback
Adapted from The Man Who Cured The Performance Review by Graham Winter, we say here are two ways you can react to feedback:
- Receive, Reflect, Respond – the individual takes the time they need to reflect on what they heard and respond accordingly.
- Resist, React, Reject – this response has the ability to erode trust and devalue feedback and, in turn, sets the expectations around what the team can and can’t discuss.
To help ensure that the messages given have been understood clearly, when receiving feedback we ask the individual to consider the following questions.
- What did you hear? We ask people to look for trends and look for congruence with what they expected the team would say (their self-assessment).
- What are you willing to commit to doing? Are you able to respond to the feedback? If you’re not it’s important to clarify this so that your team aren’t waiting for you to do something you don’t yet feel capable of.
- What support do you need from the team to do it? Those who gave you the feedback should be prepared to help you act on it. Don’t be afraid to ask for their support.
My own experiences of receiving feedback
When I joined Leading Teams, our Leadership Team was clear on what I needed to do to improve and having that clarity has helped keep me on track. I see things that I do now as a shift from what I was doing prior to joining the team.
My own behavioural preferences mean that I can feel wounded or attempt to deflect feedback in the first instance. It helps me to take my time with the reflection phase and review the feedback I have been given against my personal trademark.
In my early days with Leading Teams I was given some feedback around using our database correctly. My self-talk around IT and using computers has been pretty negative in the past so I knew it was something I needed to work on. One of my personal trademark words is ‘meticulous’, so reviewing that feedback against my trademark told me it was something I should definitely act on. In addition to that, one of our overall trademark behaviours at Leading Teams is ‘take responsibility’, so I knew I had to stop relying on others to help me with the database and spent the time I needed to learn to do it properly.
Because we live our own model internally, I had a peer review at one of our recent training days. Since then my mentor and I have committed to weekly check-ins and already these conversations are helping me to stay focused and have encouraged us to live another of Leading Teams’ trademark behaviours: finding ways to collaborate. I’ve also been reminded how pivotal it is to be surrounded by team mates who genuinely care enough to help me and inspire me to continual growth.
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Knowing is not doing
Next time you receive feedback – from your kids, your wife, your colleagues, your house mates or your team mates, what will you do?
It might help to consider these three questions.
- Is this person’s motive for saying something pure?
- Do they have a genuine interest in me and in helping me to get better?
- Am I willing and able to do something with their feedback?
If the answer is yes to all three, and you are committed to improving, then do something with the feedback you have received. Challenge yourself, have a conversation you’ve been putting off or put time into developing a professional relationship.
I know I am in the right place at Leading Teams because I care about and respect what my teammates say, and I know that they want to help me improve which motivates me to act in response to the feedback I am given.
Asking for support, receiving it and, more importantly, doing something with it are all critical elements of high performance. Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback from those around you and understand that there’s no such thing as negative feedback, only opportunities to improve.
Jake joined Leading Teams full-time in 2016 after first working with us as an athlete facilitator from 2000.