The Coach's Blog

Checking Blind Spots

August 13, 2014
Julian Scadden
Julian Scadden

One of the benefits from having real connections between your team is the exchange of constructive feedback. When a teammate is acting out of synch with what is best for the team, a good teammate will be comfortable to call out the behavior — not to turn a blind eye to it and wait for someone else to correct it. 

How do you provide constructive feedback?

First, check in — ask if they have a moment to speak with you in private.

• You want the timing to work for them. You don’t want them to be busy, distracted, frustrated, etc. If the timing is off, the message may be received incorrectly.

• Also make sure your conversation is truly “in private.” Your goal is to help them on a personal level, not embarrass them in front of others.  

Second, use an “I” message like, “I noticed (said behavior), and I am not sure that is what is best for the team. Will you tell me why you’ve taken that approach?” 

• By using an “I” statement, your statement will become an observation, not an accusation.

• Ask a genuine question to understand your teammate’s perspective. Be curious. If you’re curious, your teammate will be less likely to be defensive.

Third, just listen. Don’t try to fix it or counsel. 

• Understand where they are coming from.

• Support why you believe it is bad for the team. 

Fourth, close by assuring them you brought this directly to them to avoid talking behind their back. Express your hope they can also understand your position. 

Remember, we all have blind spots. Be a good teammate and share concerns when you notice them, directly and with respect. Your teammates will return the favor.

Please share thoughts and comments below.

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