There are so many reasons we postpone having important conversations, and if we’re honest, most of which are excuses:
We’re too busy, we need to plan what to say, but mainly we’re worried about the other person’s reactions.
You only need a few minutes to have a crucial check-in, it doesn’t need to be a long conversation;
It’s better to have a format that works for you and apply it e.g. Situation/Behaviour/Impact, than it is to spend time planning and overthinking it;
And if you stick to feedback that is focused on the situation, behaviour and impact it will keep it from being personal and raising emotions.
Here are a couple of examples of S/B/I feedback:
“When you interrupted your colleague’s comments to make your point, it detracted from the importance of what they were saying, and appeared that their opinions or thoughts were not appreciated or valued.”
“The preparation and research you did for the presentation were clear in the concise and considered way you answered questions and explained your rationale, it’s clear that you’re the expert for this project.”
It’s an approach that works as well for praise as it does for growth.
When you go ahead and have the conversation straight away there are some real benefits:
It’s kinder to give feedback than it is to say nothing to save someone’s feelings.
They’re less likely to make the same mistakes again if they know what those mistakes are.
When something’s gone well, it’s great to hear that straight away while it’s fresh in the memory, so it can be remembered and repeated.
It’s easier for you to have it out in the open. Carrying around the anticipation of a growth conversation can impact your day, your interactions and your relationships.
It’s easier for them for you to have it out in the open, see above.
You can implement S/B/I and are less likely to forget the detail or be vague.
Sometimes it’s not going to be appropriate to give immediate feedback; if someone is angry or not in a great frame of mind to hear what you have to say. When this is the case, have the conversation as soon as it is appropriate.
If you want to talk about how to develop the skills needed to have here-and-now conversations get in touch with me at email@example.com.