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  • AutorenbildMarc Breetzke, M.A., M.A.

On Giving Feedback: Don't Just Plan Your Speech, Plan Your Questions, Too

Imagine stepping into a feedback session, not armed with a lengthy speech but with the curiosity of a coach eager to unlock a team member's potential. This shift from delivering a monologue to engaging in a meaningful dialogue marks the difference between traditional and transformative leadership. It's about moving beyond the desire to be heard, to a deeper ambition to understand and be understood, echoing Stephen Covey's wisdom: "Seek first to understand, then to be understood." Let's dive into how turning feedback sessions into conversations can create a more dynamic, engaged, and empowered team.



The One-Way Feedback Fallacy

Leaders often enter feedback sessions loaded with notes, ready to cover every point. However, when this feedback is delivered as a one-sided lecture, it can leave team members feeling like passive recipients rather than active participants. This approach misses out on tapping into the team member's own insights, concerns, and suggestions.



1. Crafting Questions That Open Doors


The magic in leadership often lies in the questions asked, not just the advice given. Questions like, "What part of this project challenged you the most?" or "How do you see yourself overcoming similar obstacles in the future?" invite team members to reflect and share. This not only gives leaders a fuller picture but also encourages team members to think critically about their own experiences.



2. Dialogue Over Monologue


Transform feedback sessions from a performance review to a performance conversation. This means planning to ask as much as you plan to tell. Such an approach not only makes the session more interactive but also aligns with Covey's principle of mutual understanding. It's about creating a space where feedback is a two-way street, allowing for a richer, more productive exchange.



3. The Importance of Listening


Active listening goes hand-in-hand with asking the right questions. It's about genuinely hearing what your team members have to say and responding in a way that shows you value their input. This practice can turn feedback sessions into powerful moments of learning for both the leader and the team member.



4. Building Trust Through Genuine Engagement


When leaders show they're genuinely interested in their team members' perspectives, they lay the foundation for trust and respect. This doesn't mean shying away from tough decisions or feedback but delivering it in a way that respects the team member's dignity and encourages growth.



Feedback as a Two-Way Learning Process


By incorporating strategic questioning into feedback sessions, leaders can foster an environment where feedback is not just given but exchanged. This approach not only enhances the development of team members but also provides leaders with invaluable insights into their team's dynamics, challenges, and opportunities for growth.


Have you tried shifting from monologues to dialogues in your feedback sessions? What impact has it had on your team's engagement and performance? Share your journey of embracing the power of questions in leadership.



 

About the Author


Marc Breetzke, M.A., M.A., founder of MB INSPIRATIONS, is leading expert on strategic thinking, communication, and leadership. Since 2013, Marc assists companies, organisations, and individuals worldwide to achieve their objectives, increase their performance, and realize their untapped potential. Marc has helped thousands of people in consulting and training projects. Currently, he lives in Stuttgart, Germany.



 

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