My Monday post dealt with the Dead Man Rule, and the nuances of behavior.
This post focuses on how to provide feedback in a manner that allows you to influence behavior, which in the long run will result in changing attitudes (and culture if part of an organization).
In order to change behavior, we need to provide feedback that is Soon, Certain, and Positive. It is only human nature to take the path that is easiest for us. When we are dealing with safety issues, it is more convenient to not wear a scratched face shield, or to not seek out safety goggles/glasses (have you ever worked with power tools at home without wearing safety glasses ???). While the consequence of an injury is large, the probability is low, and so we often will take risks.
For us to influence behavior, we need to reinforce the positive behaviors we encounter, and to present the at-risk behaviors in a positive way.
The natural question is, how do you present at risk behaviors positively? [pause while I wait for you to ask the question. Tapping foot patiently :o) ]
I am glad that you inquired. Use of the 4 C's will tackle this dilemma.
- Communicate the at-risk behavior that your observed.
- Check for the individuals understanding [motivation or ability issue]
- Coach for improved performance.
- Contract for corrected behavior.
The premise here is that our feedback is provided in a positive manner, and we do not use phrases that set people on the defensive. When we provide feedback, we need to avoid using words that will ignite defensive reactions [I understand vs. You, I appreciate vs. That's Wrong]. The best way to explain this is to focus on the behavior and not the individual.
How do you do that? If you want to talk to someone about things that bother you, the best advice is what Dr. Phil says, "It ain't about YOU". If you are coaching or providing feedback, seek to attempt to avoid the use of the work "you". This will result in a discussion about the behavior, and not be perceived as a personal attack. This works wonders with teenagers, co-workers, and even spouses :o)