Want to drive performance? Earn the right to have the tough conversation.
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NO one wants to do a bad job. But sometimes we do.

I’d like to invite you to think about this and apply it to people in your business whose performance isn’t where you’d like it to be.

One way we help them get better is through feedback. But according to a Harvard Business Review article there is a Feedback Fallacy right now.

In research conducted by Marcus Buckingham, feedback is defined as “what we think of their performance and how they can do it better.” They compare this with their definition of instruction which they define as “telling them steps or factual knowledge they are lacking.

According to research, both of these methods fail people. They don’t allow peoples brains to receive the information being shared and use it to thrive because it puts people on the defense.

No one wants to hear they aren’t doing a great job but everyone wants to get through the barrier so they can do a great job.


“According to brain science, people grow far more neurons and synaptic connections where they already have the most neurons and synaptic connections. In other words, each brain grows more where it’s already the strongest.”

Buckingham, Marcus

So how can give performance related feedback that doesn’t put people on the defense?

Earn the right to have the conversation.

People already struggle with feedback and they don’t always respond to instruction on improvement. BUT I challenge both of these concepts when connection exists.

Get connected to your team first and then start the discussions on how they can improve. If you don’t feel a sense of personal care for that person then you have not earned the right to help them improve.

As leaders, it is our job to help each of our team members thrive. It’s also our job to build the connection with our team members that lets them feel comfortable with your help.

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