Feedback made easy
on June 5, 2015in News

Feedback made easy

Emotional Intelligence eh? Feedback sandwich? Tosh.

Where I come from lad, you tell it straight, no holds barred, whether they like it or not. The problem with most lily-livered leaders is that they’re afraid to call a spade a spade in case they offend someone. The answer? A good old-fashioned talking to – and decisive action to boot, if you’ll pardon the expression.

But what if the other person isn’t entirely comfortable with this approach? Well that’s where a couple of handy hints come in, and they’ve always worked for me.

First, you need to show them who’s boss. A good hard stare will do the trick. And there’s really no need to shout. No, it’s usually easier to be aggressive in a slow, low voice to help you ease into character – think Hannibal Lecter and fava beans. But I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with a bit of table thumping or door slamming if that floats your boat. Come to think of it, door slamming does have its own merits pour encourager les autres.

Just lay it on with gusto and before you know it they’ll be begging to sign their annual review report and get out of the room faster than a Jack Russell down a rabbit hole. But if there’s any difficulty in getting a sign-off, I find that a headlock often works. Or even a quick thumb twist. Key tip – make sure it’s not the victim’s (sorry staff member’s) writing hand you’re mangling.

If that fails, you might need to take the action up a notch. I call this leverage, best achieved by pinning the employee face down on the carpet and whipping his arm up his back. A bit like that real-life tough stuff they do on the world-wide wrestling circuit. Wham, crack. Job done, next?

As no less an authority as Lieutenant General Sir Graeme Lamb, former Commander of 22 SAS and Director Special Forces put it, ‘If you’re not poking me in the chest, there’s something up with our organisation’. See? He would know, wouldn’t he?

Ah Mr Jones. Your feedback session? Of course. Do come in…

Norrie Gilliland
May 2015

One of a series of occasional articles about the ‘other world’ of OD.
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