CommsMasters Blog

2 Old-School Feedback Techniques It's Time To Ditch

In helping leaders to become more confident and competent communicators, exploring how to give effective feedback is one of the core areas that we encourage our clients to focus on. And giving clear, succinct and meaningful feedback continues to be one area that even the most experienced leaders struggle with.

When examining this topic, there are two particular techniques that many leaders still use – but that really need to be put out to pasture. The first of these is the Feedback Sandwich (sometimes referred to using a slightly different, rather more scatological, title) and the second is asking a question to get the other person to critique their own performance.

Here's why it's time to stop using the Feedback Sandwich.

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How to... Make Sure People Recall Your Message

One of the first signs that Christmas is nearly upon us? The John Lewis Christmas advert on TV.

Schmaltzy, sentimental, tear-jerking, heart-warming – however you choose to describe this ad, it holds important lessons for any leader who has a message to share and needs to make sure it sticks.

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What Are Words Worth?

It's important to acknowledge that in any debate, both sides believe that they're right. And we, as human beings, are hard-wired to gravitate towards the things that reinforce our beliefs or existing knowledge, rather than refute them.

Take the recent case of the dispute at the Grangemouth petrochemical plant. Leaving the politics aside, the language that was (reported as) being used added fuel to an already inflamed debate, one in which both sides believed their perspective was the 'right' one. Workers, on the one hand, allegedly described one INEOS director as being "evil", while David Cameron described the plant's former Unite convener as a "rogue" operator.

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10 Questions For Effective Performance Review Conversations

If you are a regular reader of the CommsMasters blog, you'll already know that I have a strong negative reaction to overly-structured, form-focussed performance review processes. Instead, the critical focus should be on the conversation that takes place between the leader and the direct report.

The most effective performance reviews get the direct report talking a lot, with the leader encouraging useful reflection through the questions asked and adding their own feedback and views where these can add value.

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4 Ways To Help Leaders Fall In Love With Performance Reviews

Hands up all you leaders out there who look forward to the annual round of formal performance reviews. And hands up everyone in Human Resources who enjoys the annual game of chase-up-the-leaders-who-haven't-done their-performance-reviews.

No one? Really?

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Communication: The Common Denominator of Leadership? (Part 1)

I've been taking a walk down memory lane recently and trying to recall some of the leadership models, trends and fads that I've come across during my career. And the number of these models/trends/fads either means that I'm getting on more than I realised or that the industry for 'the latest thing' has always been in rude health!

Seriously, though... there have been many useful ideas, some interesting ones, and others that were just plain weird.

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If Leaders Want To Increase Engagement, Here Are 4 Things They Should STOP Doing

I often write about the things that leaders must start doing to increase employee engagement. But what about the things that you should stop doing? Let’s take a look at my top stops.*

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5 Ways to Enable Effective Performance Management Conversations

Mercer’s 2013 Global Performance Management Survey reports that only 7% of managers were felt to be "highly skilled at having candid dialogue with their direct reports about performance".

The same survey found that approximately one in three organisations worldwide said that "improving managers’ ability to have candid dialogue with employees has the greatest impact on overall company performance".

So, one-third of companies recognise the crucial role of "candid dialogue" in improving organisational performance, while less than one in ten managers are viewed as being competent at having those candid conversations about performance.

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How Great Leadership Communication Gets Results

The primary purpose of leadership in business is to inspire, engage and motivate people to achieve results.

When people are inspired, engaged and motivated, they give their best. They move beyond obligatory effort to discretionary effort, innovation and creativity increase, and performance builds.

This improves leaders' performance too – they can focus on the right things, with far less time spent resolving energy-draining conflicts and managing pointless politics. Business results rocket.

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5 Things Leaders Must Do To Increase Employee Engagement

Engaged employees give discretionary effort and are more productive, boosting organisational performance as a result. They enjoy their work more and make their manager's job easier too. And the great thing is – employees want to be engaged and feel good about themselves and their jobs when they are.

This is great news for business leaders wondering how to achieve more with (apparently) less – you have lots of untapped, valuable resource at your fingertips. All you have to do is access it.

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