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Giving Feedback Exercise

This lesson is a part of an audio course Facilitating High Performing Meetings by Ross Maynard

Consider the situation I am going to set out and review how you would handle giving the feedback.

You are one of two finance managers in your company. You are responsible for the North Division Finance Team. Your colleague, Adrienne, is responsible for the South Division Finance Team.

You do not know Adrienne well. You work in offices 250 miles apart and meet only at quarterly head-office sessions. However, you do know one of her finance team, Manisha, who transferred from your team a few months ago due to family commitments.

Manisha has told you, in confidence, that she does not enjoy Adrienne's monthly business review Meetings. Adrienne always has a "view" and a "solution" for performance issues, and her "facilitation" mainly involves getting individuals to accept her solution. Manisha also feels that Adrienne has a couple of "favourites" who get an easier ride than the others in the team.

One of the quarterly head office sessions is coming up, and you feel you should do something about these comments without betraying Manisha's confidence.

List three ways in which you might be able to interact with Adrienne in relation to facilitation without betraying Manisha's confidence.

Pause this lesson while you consider how you would approach this situation.

Welcome back. The question was to list three ways in which you might be able to interact with Adrienne in relation to facilitation without betraying Manisha's confidence.

Here are my thoughts:

  1. You could tell Adrienne that you want to compare notes on facilitation skills and arrange a meeting while you are both at head office. Prepare some scenarios to discuss with her, which feature disguised examples of some of the behaviours you believe she has portrayed. Keep it light and non-personal. The problem with this approach is that a meeting room discussion is very different from a real situation, and it may be hard to get her to realise the impact she is having.

  2. You could propose to Adrienne that you have a training session on facilitation skills when you are both at head office. Get someone from HR or an external trainer to host the session. If possible, brief the trainer beforehand on the issues you feel need to be addressed. Role play and other exercises delivered by a trainer might provide a more conducive setting to identify and address problem behaviours.

  3. You might propose that, for self-development, you each attend each-other's business review Meetings. Given the travel distance, this may be hard to arrange. However, it has the advantage of being a "live" environment. You may be able to (privately) draw her attention to her approach if you witness it firsthand, but you need to be able to deliver this feedback very delicately (see question 2). Of course, she may also identify issues with your delivery!

  4. You could propose that you both attend an external training programme – something along the lines of advanced facilitation – in the hope that you will both benefit from reflecting on aspects of your delivery.

  5. You might encourage Manisha to report her concerns to a more senior manager in her division. This may become necessary if the perceived favouritism becomes something akin to bullying or discrimination. However, it is the "nuclear" option, and it would be better to try one of the other angles first.

Thank you for listening to this lesson. In our next lesson, I cover the key learning points from this course.

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Written by

Ross Maynard