If you read this column last month, you may remember me challenging you to provide something called Alliance Feedback instead of constructive criticism. Let’s be honest, NOBODY likes criticism – even when we put lipstick on it and call it constructive…I shared the statement, “When we’re willing to form the kind of alliances that ensure we’re providing feedback rather than criticism and we invest our energy into helping those same folks grow with no strings attached, we can indeed touch a heart!” as I closed but I didn’t really go into HOW we could actually do it or what the energy we would need to invest would truly involve to show we meant it when we tell someone, “I believe in you.” So let’s dig into that now! We could spend days talking about all the complicated ways this could be done.
Since my ADHD won’t support anything close to that, and since I believe the simple stuff almost always yields the best results (since we can actually apply it…), I’ll share three questions with you that we challenge the folks who work through our Emerging Leader Development course to consider regarding the leaders who had earned the most influence with them:
· Can I trust you?
· Can you help me?
· Do you care for me?
As we work through those questions with participants, we hear examples of how they’ve experienced those things from supervisors and managers throughout their careers. Since our primary topic at that point in the course is earning influence with the teams they lead, we quickly turn the tables and ask those same participants how the team members they’re responsible for leading would answer the questions about them That steps on toes at times but it always sends a strong message! I believe the same thing applies if we want to build relationships in our personal life so we’re offering Alliance Feedback rather than constructive criticism…
Not so long ago, I attended the memorial service of a lifelong family friend. As folks shared their experiences and memories, it was very clear that every single one of the hundreds of people there could answer YES to each of those questions when it came to Bob Fulk. Whether I saw him several times a week, like I was used to growing up, or I only ran into him a time or two a year, as it had been over the last several years, there was never a difference in how he greeted me. Even in the six months or so that I worked on one of his construction crews shortly after I graduated from high school, every interaction was just as genuine.
He was someone I always wanted to do the best I could for, regardless of whether he was scolding me for something stupid I had done (and I sure provided plenty of opportunities for that) or patting me on the back for doing something well. I don’t ever remember considering anything he said to me as criticism! If you knew Bob, I’m sure you would answer all three of those questions just like I would with a definite YES! And I just don’t know of a better example to share for how to provide Alliance Feedback…Prior to founding Dove Development & Consulting, Wes and Cindy Dove developed strong professional resumes while working in both large corporations and small, family-owned businesses.
In addition to extensive work in behavior-based safety throughout North America, Wes held responsibility for safety compliance, human resources, and personnel development in multiple industries. He and his wife, Cindy, are Executive Directors with The John Maxwell Team and serve on that organization’s President’s Advisory Council. They’re Certified Human Behavior Consultants through Personality Insights, and contributing authors for the book Discover Your Team’s Potential – Proven Principles To Help Engage Your Team & Improve Performance, which made the Amazon Best Sellers List in all three categories in just a few weeks.