New Video: How Leaders Can Get the Right Feedback with Situation-Behavior-Impact

Posted July 26, 2016
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation
Blog situationbehaviorimpact 2016

It can be one of the trick­i­est and touch­i­est tasks for a leader – get­ting and giv­ing feed­back. So per­haps it should come as lit­tle sur­prise that many, if not most, lead­ers nei­ther give nor get the feed­back they need to succeed.

Here’s where sit­u­a­tion-behav­ior-impact” feed­back (SBI for short) comes into play. As its name implies, SBI pro­motes feed­back based on iden­ti­fy­ing a spe­cif­ic sit­u­a­tion, describ­ing the observed behav­ior (and when and where it hap­pened) and explain­ing its impact on you.

A new Foun­da­tion video explains how a ver­sion of SBI, adapt­ed from a mod­el used by the Cen­ter for Cre­ative Lead­er­ship, can boost results-based lead­er­ship devel­op­ment. Hav­ing aware­ness of how their behav­iors affect the mem­bers of their team can help lead­ers adjust their behav­iors to improve those inter­ac­tions. This, in turn, can help teams become more high­ly func­tion­ing and more like­ly to be suc­cess­ful in achiev­ing their estab­lished results.

First, what SBI isn’t: It’s not about crit­i­ciz­ing or prais­ing people’s behav­ior (and cer­tain­ly not their char­ac­ter) and should nev­er be judg­men­tal. Rather, it should be con­struc­tive and aimed at improv­ing effectiveness.

Start by sim­ply ask­ing for per­mis­sion to give feed­back. Then offer con­crete input on observed behav­ior and how it impact­ed you. For exam­ple, if in a meet­ing, some­one makes a com­mit­ment for your team, you might be inclined to shut down and just be angry. Or you could offer SBI — be direct and spe­cif­ic and share how you per­ceived the action: Some­one made a com­mit­ment for your team with­out con­sult­ing you to see if the tight dead­line could be met, and you felt dis­re­spect­ed as a result. Con­verse­ly, you could say you’re grat­i­fied you were trust­ed enough to accom­plish the goal on such a tight deadline.

Such spe­cif­ic feed­back can enable lead­ers and team mem­bers alike to dis­cern the impact of their behav­ior on oth­ers and help them make informed deci­sions about whether and how to change the behavior.

Lead­ers and oth­ers who receive feed­back should give thanks for it, ensure they ful­ly under­stand it and take the time to process it before decid­ing how to respond.

And when you get feed­back, don’t then try to explain what you had been attempt­ing to do or why, min­i­mize or dis­miss the feed­back or react with anger if it’s negative.

Lead­ers should ask for and pro­vide SBI feed­back often. To help the process of using SBI get estab­lished with­in your team, it helps to dis­trib­ute a sim­ple SBI feed­back form dur­ing meet­ings or pre­sen­ta­tions. The form should include spaces to describe the sit­u­a­tion, the spe­cif­ic observed behav­ior (what a facil­i­ta­tor said or did, for exam­ple), and how it impact­ed the per­son giv­ing the feedback.

Don’t shy away from giv­ing feed­back or encour­ag­ing it from oth­ers. It engages your entire team and helps staff under­stand they’re being heard, appre­ci­at­ed and respect­ed, which can make all the dif­fer­ence in fos­ter­ing behav­ior that helps achieve key goals.

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