One of the most important means of self-improvement is "Feedback!" Not all that long ago, I used to be of the mindset that "Feedback" was a bad thing. I simply lumped it into the category of "complaining," and who likea a complainer? But the truth is that "Feedback" is my friend. It is far better for me to know than to not know and live my life with blind spots about myself. But what I have also learned is that most people do not know how to give effective "Feedback." In fact, "Feedback" given the wrong way can create major damage. I've both seen and experienced that fact.
B = BEHAVIOR - Help the individual understand exactly the behavior you’re talking about. Think of playing a video, only using words to describe what you saw and heard. Avoid interpretations and judgments such as, “You weren’t listening to me.” Instead, simply describe the person’s behavior: “When I was talking, you pushed your chair away from the table and gazed out the window.”
I = IMPACT - Share with the individual the impact of the behavior on you and/or on others who were present. Impact is what you or others experienced. The impact statement is about you, not the other person. Most often, a description of the impact will start with, “I felt…” or “I was…” or “It appeared to me others were…” An impact statement is not an interpretation of why the individual showed that behavior.
Here’s an example. Instead of: “Chris, you were really effective in the team meeting today!” Say this: “Chris, at the end of the team meeting this morning (SITUATION), you gave a summary of the key action steps we had discussed (BEHAVIOR). I was really glad you did that (IMPACT ON ME), and it seemed to bring a good sense of closure to the meeting (IMPACT ON OTHERS).”
Here is another example. Instead of: “Pat, you were really rude yesterday!” Say this: “Pat, during our conference call yesterday afternoon (SITUATION), I noticed that you interrupted others and me on several occasions (BEHAVIOR). I felt frustrated at times (IMPACT ON ME), and I sensed that others were irritated by it as well (IMPACT ON OTHERS).”
SBI – It really is an effective way to give “Feedback” to others. In fact, we are practicing it as a staff. This week, each Ministry Staff member must use the SBI format to write down one piece of positive “Feedback” for each of the other Ministry Staff members. In our meeting next Monday, we will start by having everyone share their SBI's. We are actually going to do this for 3 weeks straight in order to begin developing the art and habit of giving “Feedback” to others in an effective way.
After all, “Feedback” really is your friend!