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Revolutionizing Growth: Navigating Performance Struggles Through Positive Feedback

Updated: Jan 12



In the realm of organizational performance struggles, the prevalent approach is to highlight shortcomings when delivering feedback. This is evident in questions like:

  • Reflecting on missed targets, why do you believe your team fell short of expectations?

  • Pointing out flaws in your strategy, what aspects went awry in achieving the desired outcomes?

  • Your actions haven't yielded results; can you provide insight into your approach?


Any guesses on how people respond? Cue the blame game..."We faced external factors beyond our control," or "I did my best given the circumstances."


However, this well-intentioned strategy, fuelled by the assumption that digging deep will unearth and fix the bug, often triggers defensiveness.


The brain's amygdala reacts, inhibiting the prefrontal cortex responsible for alternative solutions. Defensive responses, like justifying actions or blaming circumstances, become the norm.


But in the realm of performance struggles, starting a guilt-trip and hosting blame festivals won't cut it.


So, how do we encourage reflection and exploration instead of defensiveness?


The paradox lies in redirecting attention toward what's working, even if its impact seems limited. Encouraging individuals to amplify positive habits creates space for constructive dialogue. Ask questions that foster growth:

  • Amid challenges, what strengths have you observed within your team that contributed positively?

  • What are the instances where successful approaches or initiatives made a notable impact within the organization?

  • In the face of adversity, how have individuals showcased resilience and adaptability?


When providing feedback, not only ask but also reflect on what you observe. For example, "One thing I've noticed that you might further explore is the team's ability to adapt swiftly during unexpected changes."


Navigating performance discussions through a positive lens, focusing on what's working, opens avenues for collaboration and innovation.

It's a shift that invites exploration of effective strategies and solutions without triggering defensiveness.

Addressing deviations is crucial, but viewing them as problems triggers defensiveness. Consider them the next mile to conquer, provoking focus. To avoid defensiveness, questions should revolve around what can be done differently and what needs to change. Examples include:

  • How can we adjust our approach to better align with evolving circumstances?

  • What specific changes can we implement to enhance our team's performance in similar situations?

  • In what ways can individual strengths be leveraged to overcome challenges proactively?


Remember...

  • Reflection breeds growth; focus on strengths for constructive solutions.

  • Positive habits amplify success; exploring them nurtures innovation.

  • Effective strategies emerge from collaboration; keeping discussions positive fuels creativity and proactive problem-solving.

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