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A Simple Way to Make Any Feedback Pay Off, by Jeff Hayden

Stashed in: LinkedIn, Leadership!, Management, Awesome, Feedback, Leadership, Give and Take

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The magical feedback is one 19 word phrase.

Just one phrase:

I'm giving you these comments because I have very high expectations and I know that you can reach them.

That's it: just 19 words. But those words are powerful because they are not really feedback. They're a signal that creates something more powerful: a sense of belonging and connection.

Looking closer, the phrase contains several distinct signals:

1) You are part of this group.

2) This group is special; we have higher standards here.

3) I believe you can reach those standards.

The key is to understand that this feedback isn't just feedback--it's a vital cue about the relationship. The reason this approach works so well has to do with the way our brains are built. Evolution has built us to be cagey with our efforts; after all, engagement is expensive from a biological standpoint.

But when we receive an authentic, crystal-clear signal of social trust, belonging, and high expectations, the floodgates click open.

The lessons for leaders are pretty simple:

  • First, connect: like John Wooden said, they can't care how much you know until they know how much you care.
  • Highlight the group: seek ways (traditions, mantras, fun little rituals) to show what it means to belong in your crew.
  • Don't soft-pedal high standards: Don't pretend that it's easy--do the opposite. Emphasize the toughness of the task, and your belief that they have what it takes.

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