Two firemen fought a tough fire and were relaxing afterwards, reflecting on what they had achieved. On had a really dirty face whilst the other had a clean face....which one went and cleaned their face?
The answer is of cause the one with the clean face. They saw the other person with the dirty face and assumed his was dirty, whilst the man with the dirty face saw the man with the clean face and thought his was clean. A great story that illustrates the need for feedback in teams. If the fireman knew his face was dirty he would go and clean it!
How often does this happen in the workplace where someone who is behaving in the wrong way doesn't change because of a lack of feedback. They think they are doing the right thing...
So how do you give feedback to boost team performance? I like using the simple and effective BOOST feedback model.
Balanced: focus not only on areas for development, but also on strengths.
Observed: provide feedback based only upon behaviours that you have observed.
Objective: avoid judgements and relate your feedback to the observed behaviours, not personality.
Specific: back up your comments with specific examples of the observed behaviour.
Timely: give feedback soon after the activity to allow the learner the opportunity to reflect on the learning.