Be a more positive and inspiring leader using this one technique
When delivering negative feedback, you’ve probably been told to use a feedback sandwich which is two pieces of positive feedback surrounding the negative feedback. I have never been a fan of this method mostly because it confuses the priority by delivering three pieces of information instead of focusing on what needs to be addressed. I’ve watched people walk away from a feedback sandwich thinking they are doing great and completely miss the key point.
Thankfully, I learned a long time ago from my high school softball coach to add one simple word at the end of my feedback. I wasn’t a top player but her use of this one word inspired me, gave me hope, and left me with the impression that she believed in me. It wasn’t until I reflected on all my coaches that year and examined what it was about her coaching techniques that worked for me, that I realized how well she used this simple differentiator.
She simply added ‘yet’ at the end of her feedback as in, “Leanne your pickup and throw to first base is not fast enough, yet.”
Adding “yet” to the end of her feedback statement was effective because it implied that there was still room for growth and improvement, and that the feedback was not intended to be a final judgment on my abilities or performance. Without the ‘yet’ I might have felt deflated and frustrated from her comment.
Using “yet” helps to shift the focus from a fixed mindset, where abilities and traits are seen as fixed and unchangeable, to a growth mindset, where individuals can develop and improve through effort and learning. All great coaches and leaders need to encourage a growth mindset.
For example, instead of saying “You’re not very good at public speaking,” which may be discouraging and may make the person feel like they are inherently bad at public speaking, you could say “You’re not very good at public speaking yet,” which implies that there is potential for improvement with practice and feedback.
Using “yet” can also be a way to acknowledge the effort that someone has put in, even if they haven’t yet achieved the desired outcome and are ready to tryout for the all-star team. For example, instead of saying “You didn’t meet the sales target,” which may be demotivating, you could say “You didn’t meet the sales target yet, but I can see that you’ve been working hard to improve your sales skills, and I believe with more practice and support, you can get there.”
Overall, adding “yet” to the end of a feedback statement can help create a more positive and constructive feedback environment, and can encourage individuals to continue to develop and grow.
So, ditch the feedback sandwich, add ‘yet’, and be the better coach.