As the school year begins and we are setting up our programs, meeting and greeting new faces, and planning for the year to get underway, don’t forget to be intentional about your feedback. More importantly, be intentional and strategic about why we give it, who we give it to, and how it’s being delivered. According to award-winning author Todd Whitaker in his book titled Shifting the Monkey, The Art of Protecting Good People From Liars, Criers, and Other Slackers, he uses this metaphor to define “monkeys” as “the responsibilities, obligations, and problems that everyone carries and deals with every day, but that often get shifted to someone else.” He discourages us from giving a disproportionate amount of attention to those who shirk their responsibilities and try to “shift their monkeys” onto the backs of good people. When this happens, the feedback doesn’t quite hit the mark or elicit the desired response and it hurts our best people. Knowing “why” we are offering feedback and “who” we are giving it to will help us resist the urge to accept any monkeys that are thrown our way.
Research tells us a lot about providing feedback and according to Daniel Coyle, author of Culture Code, in a podcast by Daniel Pink titled “This Is How to Give Better Feedback in Just 19 Words,” Those 19 words are “I’m giving you these comments, because I have very high expectations and I know that you can reach them.” They work, because they build trust, belonging, and high standards, according to the author.
Another great resource for building your capacity for giving feedback is the book titled Crucial Conversations. This book is a must-read for leaders and is the focal point of a book study that members of INALI are currently doing. According to an excerpt from the book, the definition of a crucial conversation is “a discussion between two or more people where stakes are high, opinions vary, and emotions run strong. These conversations—when handled poorly or ignored—cause teams and organizations to get less-than-desirable results.” While we all know that conversations can be tricky at times, these tips will get your conversations headed in the right direction.
For more from Daniel Pink, follow him @DanielPink on Twitter or register HERE to attend the Fall Professionals Conference to see him speak.
Patterson, K. (2016). Crucial conversations. [United States]: IDreamBooks Inc.
Pink, D. (2019). Pinkcast 2.16: This is how to give better feedback in just 19 words. [online] Daniel H. Pink. Available at: https://www.danpink.com/pinkcast/pinkcast-2-16-this-is-how-to-give-better-feedback-in-just-19-words/ [Accessed 5 Aug. 2019].Whitaker, T. (2012).
Shifting the Monkey: The Art of Protecting Good from Liars. Triple Nickel Press.