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How to use AI for difficult feedback conversations
Can ChatGTP become your secret feedback weapon? (Sample prompts and coaching questions included).
Giving feedback isn't a walk in the park; but it's a skill that can profoundly impact leadership growth.
Executed well, it is the cornerstone of improvement; enhancing performance, and nurturing continuous learning throughout your business.
However, despite its importance, many leaders still grapple with feedback delivery.
You’ve probably had those moments, providing feedback you thought was crystal clear, only to witness the same issues resurface. It's not only frustrating but can also leave you feeling like we're speaking a different language to those around you.
And when the person you are giving feedback to isn’t sitting across the desk, it can be especially challenging to read reactions and know if your message is getting through effectively.
Finding the right words to use and framing your message carefully, requires thought and headspace.
Feedback, when done right, is specific, actionable, and tailored to the individual's unique needs and aspirations. And for leaders it it means building an environment where feedback flows freely, fostering collaboration and mutual respect.
But it takes practice and skill to get there.
And that’s when AI can give you an advantage.
When you're faced with delivering a tricky message, tools like ChatGPT can hep.
They give you tips to help you reshape your communication style, suggest ways to think more broadly about your approach, provide guidance on what to say and what to avoid, and ultimately enhance the effectiveness of your feedback.
Naturally, ChatGPT isn’t a replacement for human interaction or a human expert and the outputs you receive will require personalisation.
But used as a thought partner it can be a useful tool to help you get out of your own head and think about the challenge in front of you in a different way.
Because successful feedback centres around context and language; positioning your message and choosing the right words to convey your thoughts effectively.
Below are three prompts to help you reflect on how you can use ChatGPT to help you better navigate tricky feedback conversations.
Let's dive in.
ps. Before we start, a reminder. Do not share sensitive or personal information that can be used to identify others with ChatGPT. Always, always remember that.
Know another leader who is interested in the intersection between AI and leadership? This post is free, so feel free to share it with them.
General feedback framing: Every leader has their own, unique style of leadership and this is mirrored in the way you communicate. Perhaps you are quite results driven, and when you communicate with those around you, and you naturally focus on the strategic outcome and business result. Or alternatively perhaps you care deeply about how those you lead feel, and the way you communicate centres around empathy and engagement.
When giving feedback to someone who thinks differently to you and who is motivated by something completely different, ChatGTP can give you tips on how to approach the conversation. Because adapting your style, especially under pressure, can be a stretch.
You might use a prompt such as: “I need to give feedback to a senior member of my team. The feedback will be delivered remotely. My natural style is to be <direct and results-focused>. The recipient is <sensitive and caring>. What do I need to do to adapt my natural style to better suit their needs?”
Before you begin, ask yourself:
What is your natural style when giving feedback - do you focus on what the data is telling you, how people are feeling or getting the quickest win?
What tone or phrasing do you typically employ when giving feedback?
What feedback have you sought from your team regarding your communication style?
Tailoring the message: When you have a situation where you need to give a piece of particularly sensitive feedback, ChatGTP can expand and challenge your thinking - helping you think about what you might want to say, and how you say it.
You might use a prompt such as:
“I'm about to have a difficult conversation with a senior member of my team who has <issue>. My expectation and goal is that they will <intended outcome>. I expect them to be angry about it. Please give me two alternative scrips that I can use, and include questions I can ask to check their understanding and accountability in the future. Please also provide any general advice on how I should approach the conversation.”
Think about those you lead:
How do those in your team, who you find it hardest to deliver tough messages to, differ to you? Why might that be?
What are the unique needs and preferences of your team when it comes to receiving feedback?
What would you change in the prompt above to make it a better fit for you and your team?
Getting feedback: “Can you give me some feedback'“ is a typically tumbleweed inducing question. But when feedback isn’t free flowing, sometimes it can be difficult to hit on the perfect question to ask your team or know how to frame your request. ChatGTP can give you ideas to help you.
You might try a prompt such as: “I’m a senior leader and I’d like to get some constructive feedback from my team about my communication technique. They are typically reserved in giving me feedback. What are four questions I can ask? How should I approach my request more generally?”
What feedback do I need that I’m not hearing regularly enough?
What specific scenarios or challenges do you frequently encounter that ChatGTP could help you get feedback on?
Interested in other more human centric ways to hone your feedback technique?
You can read more on the art of feedback in the recent Spark leadership mini-series here:
Mastering Tough Feedback Leadership Mini-Series
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