After I heard the podcast on measuring feedback, I dove in immediately and it has been an interesting journey for me. I have been following the Manager Tools feedback model for years, but mainly just during one on ones.
First of all, I admit that I thought this would be ridiculously easy at first. Boy, was I wrong! At the end of the very first day, I looked at the clock and realized that I hadn't given any feedback. I couldn't even make it one day?
I decided to hold myself more accountable by discussing my goal with my wife and some of my colleagues, and even some of my directs. My directs in particular seem to enjoy following my progress. "Thanks for the feedback... was that the last one you needed to make it today?"
Something funny happened toward the end of the first week. One of my directs told me that she recommended me to a coworker who was looking for some feedback. "I told her that you are great at giving feedback. You even ask first!" (That's another victory for the MT model)
Since my failure on Day 1, I haven't missed another day yet. (Middle of week 3; now I'm giving 3 feedbacks per day) I think the fact that I'm a High-C helps me here, because I take these kinds of things very seriously. Nevertheless, I have come dangerously close on a few occasions -- I realize that it's after 5pm and race around hoping that someone is still here.
By now, I realize that I have to make the most of opportunities as they arise throughout the day. Like most of you, I have a lot of meetings. So I have to go out of my way to make sure I'm interacting with my staff a little bit every day. And most of the time, the opportunities seem so incredibly trivial that I feel embarrassed to give feedback on them:
* Positive feedback on reporting project hours on time (as always)
* Positive feedback on listening to a suggestion without attempting to critique it
* Positive feedback on agreeing to present something at an upcoming staff meeting
* Positive feedback for sending an email with convenient hyperlinks to relevant documents
* Positive feedback after I overheard my admin agreeing to scan a document in color for someone
I was surprised by the response. Virtually every one of these got a huge response. They were so happy these little things were being noticed. Responding to that last example, my admin said "...to be honest I really didn't want to go to the other end of the building where the color scanner is, so it really took an effort to be nice about it. I'm so glad you noticed." Wow. I really thought these were trivial observations at the time but they matter more than I knew. I guess I really have been taking the little things for granted.
And so far during these 3 weeks, I haven't used negative feedback yet -- only positive. I feel like maybe I have some catching up to do.
(My first post to the forums after listening to Manager Tools for over 3 years! Sorry it's so long; I did mention I'm a High-C.)
Starvation and Cravings
I haven't tried measuring my feedback (yet), but I'll echo your experiences in people being grateful for feedback. I was really shocked when several of my team members stated, up-front, that they wanted to know when they were doing something wrong (unsurprisingly, those team members are my absolute star performers and really don't need any *negative* feedback), but I don't think I've got anyone on my team who hasn't responded positively in some way to feedback (not necessarily verbally, but perhaps in their facial expression or even their increased vigour).
What I've come to realise is that everyone is starved for useful feedback in their work. In most workplaces, people are kept completely in the dark about what they're doing, and *any* amount of closing the loop is seized with such joy and gratitude. In my darker moments, it makes me sad that the average workplace is so poorly managed and run that just saying "hey, you did a good job on that problem ticket, you answered the customer's question, explained what they did wrong in a way they could understand, they're obviously pleased with our support, thank you" can have such a huge positive impact on a person's state of mind and productivity.
Thank $DEITY for Manager Tools! Perhaps one day the status quo will be just that little bit better.