Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Lb's & Nt's - What?

Focus: Coaching Communication, Manager as Coach

Audio: 2 mins. 57 secs.
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LBs and NTs
Transcript - print now
Wc: 504                                                                                              
Welcome to another bite-size audio tip. Today, under manager’s effectiveness, we’re going to talk about one of my favorite techniques for giving feedback. It’s called LB’s and NT’s – that’s right - Like Best and Next Time. It’s a really cool way of being able to tell an employee something positive while coaching them at the same time.

By the way, I don’t particularly like the word criticism; I do like the word feedback. And when we’re dealing with and coaching employees, it really is all about process improvement versus right and wrong per se.

So here are some of the benefits to using the LB and NT feedback format. First of all, it reinforces the desired behavior. Do you know that every time you give someone feedback on their performance you are actually reinforcing what you’d like to see again? It’s behavior modification and that’s great.

Another thing it does is it really continues to nurture rapport. You know what that’s so important because when you are going to have those sit down talks that are really heavy and really have a lot to say, having pre-established positive rapport will really help that particular conversation go a whole lot better.

And then, finally, it teaches them how you think and what you value as a leader and really you can establish more trust once you coach them and they understand how you think and what you value. That means you have to manage them less and trust them more.

Now, for the employee, one of the benefits is they feel supported, they feel appreciated, and they feel led without feeling dominated and that’s really super-important, particularly for some personality types and even generational types as well.

So it’s a very simple technique you just say ‘like best’ and ‘next time’. So it might be something like this. Let’s say that JoAnn did a spreadsheet that was really useful and had everything pretty much the way you wanted it except it could have been designed to be a bit more scanable.

So your feedback might go something like this, “Hey JoAnn, I really liked the spreadsheet you that you set up. It was visually attractive, the columns were centered nicely - it really worked. Next time, how about we make it a bit more scanable - in that when you see it you can see all the information we want in these specific areas?” and you then go ahead and give the specific areas.

So you really gave feedback on the things that you did like, but also gave feedback on one element of improvement. Now, will that employee receive that a bit better couched in that way? I’m going to submit to you probably. And if that’s a regular part of your format of how you communicate then that would be useful.

And another value-added tip is make that a part of your team lingo. Teach your team members how to give feedback to each other so that you can build synergy.

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