Imagine that you have recently given feedback to a member of your team. You have told him that his planning for advancing the meeting seems great, but he needs to improve his presentation skills.
Follow up a few weeks later to see why nothing has changed. You will find that he does not understand what he can improve and your feedback has raised more questions for him. He thought to himself, “What is good about my minutes plan that I can use for my other work?” And “What’s wrong with my presentation skills?”
The position-behavior-effect feedback tool helps you provide better feedback. It also focuses your ideas on specific situations and behaviors and shows the effect of these behaviors on others.
Introducing the tool
The SBI tool, developed by The Center for Creative Leadership, describes a simple structure you can use to give feedback:
When you structure your feedback in this way, your people will understand exactly what you are commenting on and why. Also, when you point out the effect of their behavior on others, you give them a chance to reflect and think about what they need to change. This tool also helps you to avoid making false assumptions.
For best results, review each of the following sections and use them to provide better feedback.
When giving feedback, first clearly state the situation and the time you want to talk about it. This puts the feedback in a specific context that the person is aware of.
- “During the team meeting yesterday morning, when you were presenting…”
- “Monday evening in the client meeting…”
The next step is to describe the specific behaviors you want to point out. This is the most challenging part of the process, because you just have to point out the behaviors that you have observed directly.
You should not go beyond assumptions or make personal judgments about those behaviors. This may be wrong and will ruin your feedback.
For example, if you see that one of your co-workers made a mistake in presenting it, you should not assume that he or she was not fully prepared. Instead, you should simply state that your colleague made a mistake and better state what the mistake was.
Do not trust what you hear, as it may involve the personal judgments of others and, again, can ruin the feedback and jeopardize your relationship with the other person.
The following examples include a description of a behavior:
- “During a team meeting yesterday morning, when you were presenting, you were skeptical about two slides, and the sales calculations were wrong.”
- “On Monday evening, at the client meeting, the meeting started on time and everyone already had the drafts. “All your research was correct and all the client’s questions were answered.”
Try to use measurable information in your description of the behavior. To reassure the audience that your views are objective and fair.
The last step is to use phrases containing “I” that describe how the person’s actions affected you or others.
- “During the team meeting yesterday morning, when you were presenting, you were skeptical about two slides, and the sales calculations were wrong. I felt ashamed because the whole board was there. “I am worried that this will affect the credibility of our team.”
- “On Monday evening, at the client meeting, the meeting started on time and everyone already had the drafts. All inquiries were correct and all client questions were answered. I’m proud of you for doing such an extraordinary job and putting the organization in a good position. “I am confident that we will get that customer thanks to your hard work.”
When giving your feedback, encourage the other person to think about the situation and see the effect. (Perceptual mapping techniques can help them understand how others think.) Allow the other person time to understand what you are saying, and then point out specific actions that will help him or her make progress.
Also, when people have done a good job, help them understand how they can rely on it well and apply it in other areas.