Feedback & Emotion Delivering Feedback –Evaluating performance & delivering feedback may seem like a nonaffective task, but there are numerous reasons why emotional reactions can occur. –Emotions can range from temporary anxiety to questioning of self confidence and altering evaluations & feedback.
Delivering Feedback: Some Bases for Emotion 1. Will the worker agree with the feedback? 2. Will the worker accept the feedback? 3. Will the worker question the evaluations? 4. Will the worker disagree with the diagnoses and recommendations? 5. Will the worker react rationally or emotionally? 6. If the worker disagrees, will I be able to justify my evaluation and be able to stand firm with my feedback?
7. What if the worker succeeds in changing the evaluation? Will I lose power and credibility? 8. How will I manage this worker if they react negatively? 9. Will the worker file a grievance? 10. If a grievance is filed, would my case be strong enough to win it? 11. Are there things I have missed that should have been included in the evaluation and feedback? 12. Am I being fair, or could I somehow be biased about this worker?
The cost of emotions influencing evaluations & feedback? –Evaluations & feedback no longer useful for development & administrative purposes. –Will raise issues of fairness.
Ways in which evaluator affect can influence feedback Worker Performance: Behavior Results ObservationDiagnosis Evaluation Feedback Evaluator Affect
Steps for Managing the Possible Influence of Evaluator Affect –Clear Criteria Ambiguous criteria open door for affect or for perception that affect is an influence –Common Standards Developing common standards (such as thorough FOR training) signals that performance should be the focus –Performance Record Regular documentation of worker performance can increase the focus on behavior & results
–Voice System Knowing that a grievance may have to be dealt with can direct evaluators away from nonperformance issues –Self Awareness Being aware of possible influences on the judgment process can help evaluators avoid error & bias –Evaluation Holding evaluators accountable for their feedback & development efforts can make the issue real & important
Conceptual Framework for Understanding & Influencing Evaluator Affect Focus RelevantIrrelevant Increase Direction Decrease Clear Criterion Common Standards Perf. Record Bias Error Deficient Voice System Self Awareness Evaluation
Receiving Feedback Receiving feedback isn’t necessarily a nonaffective task - a variety of emotional reactions are possible. Examples of Emotional Reactions to Feedback Surprise - The feedback was better than you expected Defensiveness - You need to defend yourself Shock - You can't believe how poor the ratings and feedback are Anger - The evaluation isn't fair Rejection - The feedback must not be accurate
Managing Possible Emotional Reactions to Performance Feedback Evaluator Perspective The focus here is on the emotional reaction of the worker, but there is much the evaluator can do to prevent the occurrence of emotional reactions or to lessen the severity. Evaluator Approaches –Performance focus Focus on performance, not the person Cont.
–Relevance Stick to relevant performance characteristics. Including factors perceived by worker to be irrelevant may result in anger & rejection. –Distinction between relevant & irrelevant can sometimes be difficult. Let worker define relevance Know limits of your expertise –No Surprises It is the responsibility of the evaluator to make the worker aware of performance deficiencies before the formal performance review session
–Be Engaged How a message is delivered can sometimes be as important as the content of the message Exhibit Engagement Characteristics Body Language –Orient toward the worker –Lean forward –Maintain eye contact Feedback Process –Ask open-ended questions –Actively listen
Worker Perspective While some things can & should be done by the evaluator to manage the possibility of an emotional reaction, the emotions are, in the end, the worker’s. Tactics for Workers –Separate yourself from your performance Recognize that our performance is not who we are as people. –Be realistic in your performance expectations Do not expect to achieve an unattainable goal & then be emotionally distraught when feedback is less than perfect.
–Be future oriented Use performance feedback as a basis for planning future performance. Use the feedback to move ahead, not to dwell on the past. –Don’t be surprised Make sure you are receiving informal feedback –Recognize your emotional tendencies It will help you to better frame the feedback & recognize your emotional tendencies if they begin to occur
Class Exercises 1.Do you know of an example in which feedback that was too focused on the person? What was the reaction? How could the feedback have been presented or framed to avoid a defensive reaction?
2.Consider a worker with whom you are familiar. The person can be a typical, outstanding, or poor performer. Generate summary statements about the person. That is, what are your inferences, conclusions, or trait descriptions of the person? (For ex., you might infer that the worker is lazy & deceitful. Or energetic & honest) For each inference, conclusion, or trait term you generated above - how could that person inference be transformed into feedback that would lessen the chances for a defensive reaction?