Provide Feedback at the Teachable Moment


In my April 2019 article, “The Gift of Feedback: 7 Steps to Move From Confrontation to Conversation”, we discussed this 7-step process:
Step 1: Describe the Performance Problem
Step 2: Explain the Impact
Step 3: Identify the Cause
Step 4: Develop an Action Plan
Step 5: Confirm Understanding
Step 6: Document the Conversation
Step 7: Follow Up to Ensure Satisfactory Performance

This 7-step checklist is a sequential process – you can’t complete Step 2 before you complete Step 1, and so on. Walk through the Constructive Feedback Process Checklist, found at the end of this article, one step at a time. By following this process, you’ll be more confident and effective at providing important feedback to others, and you’ll feel more in control of the conversation.

This month’s article provides some Teachable Moment information, and a Feedback Exercise to help hone your skills.

Fit leaders boost the effectiveness of their teams by providing direct and timely feedback to team members. This creates an environment where employees always know whether their performance aligns with expectation.

As a fit leader, use feedback to:
• Recognize and reinforce an employee’s areas of strength.
• Identify areas for an employee’s growth and development.
• Indicate and quantify when an employee’s performance is not acceptable.

You will have the greatest impact on your employee’s future performance if you provide feedback at the teachable moment, right after the triggering event. If you want to increase your team’s effectiveness by providing clear feedback, ask yourself the following questions:


• When was the last time you offered positive feedback to an employee?
• When you choose not to provide feedback to others, who steps in to do this for you?
• How do you utilize positive and constructive feedback to develop team members?
• When providing feedback, how important is it to address how the employee’s behavior is impacting your team, the organization, and customers?
• How do you follow-up with employees after you’ve given them feedback?


Use this checklist to plan, conduct, and follow-up with, your constructive feedback discussion.

Step 1: Describe the Performance Problem

___YES ___NO   1. Use objective terms that describe where, when,
                                 what, how much, or with whom.

___YES ___NO   2. Stay focused; stick to the point at hand.

___YES ___NO   3. Be brief; keep it short.

___YES ___NO   4. Keep it simple; use clear and concrete language.

Step 2: Explain the Impact of the Performance Problem

___YES ___NO   1. Describe how the performance is impacting the
                                  work team, the organization, or the customer.

___YES ___NO   2. Relate the performance problem to the employee’s
                                  own target competencies and goals.

Step 3: Identify the Cause of the Performance Problem

___YES ___NO   1. Avoid language that appears to be blaming the employee.

___YES ___NO   2. Use open-ended questions to engage the employee.

___YES ___NO   3. Listen carefully to responses.

___YES ___NO   4. Refocus the discussion, as necessary.

___YES ___NO   5. Offer your view of causes if different than the employee’s.

Step 4: Develop an Action Plan for Improving Performance

___YES ___NO   1. Keep the discussion focused on the future.

___YES ___NO   2. Agree to specific, observable, tangible results
                                 and/or outcomes.

___YES ___NO   3. Ask the employee for possible solutions.

___YES ___NO   4. Offer your ideas after you hear what your
                                  employee has to say.

___YES ___NO   5. Agree to a plan of action.

___YES ___NO   6. Agree to a follow-up date.

Step 5: Confirm Understanding

___YES ___NO   1. Agree on a specific course of action including timeframe.

___YES ___NO   2. Express confidence in the employee.

___YES ___NO   3. Thank the employee for his or her contributions.

Step 6: Document the Conversation

1. Document conversation on a separate piece of paper. Include the following information:

___YES ___NO   A. Name of employee

___YES ___NO   B. Description or performance problem

___YES ___NO   C. Date of feedback discussion

___YES ___NO   D. Brief summary of what occurred at each step

___YES ___NO   E. Employee’s comments

___YES ___NO   F. Next steps

Step 7: Follow Up to Ensure Satisfactory Performance

___YES ___NO   1. Complete actions you agreed to take.

___YES ___NO   2. Check on the employee’s progress.

___YES ___NO   3. Congratulate the employee if their performance improves.

___YES ___NO   4. Take additional action if performance does not improve.

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About the Author: Dr. David Chinsky is the Founder of the Institute for Leadership Fitness, a celebrated speaker, and author of The Fit Leader’s Companion: A Down-to-Earth Guide for Sustainable Leadership Success. After spending nearly 30 years in executive leadership positions at the Ford Motor Company, Nestle and Thomson Reuters, he now focuses on preparing leaders to achieve their highest level of professional effectiveness and leadership fitness. For more information, please visit



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