Recently I was reading a fabulous book, The Extraordinary Coach by John Zenger, which had a great analogy relative to giving feedback to employees.
As you all know, I am a big believer in giving and getting feedback on a regular basis. Feedback is a gift – as cliched as this may sound. In his book, John applies the analogy of watering our plants to providing and offering feedback to our employees. He offers that dousing a plant with water all at one time is analogous to dumping a whole slew of negative commentary on an employee. You metaphorically drown the employee which can build defensiveness and sometimes even rejection of the feedback offered. Compared to the drip method which encourages offering bits and pieces of constructive feedback where the employee can soak it in slowly. They can digest the feedback bit by bit and integrate this overtime. In addition, by giving feedback in a measured way, they don’t feel like a failure or that they can’t accomplish the tasks being ask of them.
This may seem rather obvious. Yet, in the heat of the moment, I have personally witnessed leaders slam employees with all the areas for improvement. There is a better way – and it is the drip method.