Stop trying to motivate your team – do this instead

If you use it right, feedback is the most powerful lever in building your company.

But most leaders are missing out on its full potential.

  • They only give negative feedback.
  • They don’t say anything because they don’t want to “state the obvious.”
  • They use the “sh*t sandwich,” squeezing critical feedback in between praise to avoid upsetting the receiver.

No wonder most people panic when they hear: “Can I give you some feedback?”

And yet, a study of 19,000+ professionals found something surprising:

When managers give non-judgmental feedback – i.e. they simply observe direct reports and share specific examples of what they see without evaluating it — it inspires a 39% boost in performance.

It’s like a mirror that simply reflects reality — whether your blouse is unbuttoned or your hair is artfully combed. No judgment.

“Being a mirror” is a new approach for many founders.

“So, I just notice what my team is doing and tell them?” my client asked, skeptical that it could be that simple.

“Yes!!” I said.

Here’s what he came up with when I asked him to give it a try:

“I saw you take real responsibility in that crisis, Boris. You explored different paths. You persevered. You identified resources that could buy us time to figure out the problem. And I’m pretty sure you’re gonna figure it out in a week.”

“You got it!” I said. “It’s not praise or criticism. Just factual observation.”

When you give objective feedback on a continuous basis, it does three things:

1️⃣ Answers the #1 question on every person’s mind: “How am I doing?”

The shorter the feedback loop, the more certainty they feel, and the more confidence they have to continue what they’re doing or course correct.

2️⃣ Makes your life easier.

When you’re not just giving negative feedback, it takes away the fear and procrastination.

3️⃣ Develops a keen eye for observation.

More information means more context. Which means you’re better able to influence others and gain their trust.

How about you?

Do you give continuous feedback to your team? How might they respond differently if you did? How might your company performance be affected?