Case study: Feedback
The following comments are provided as food for thought. Different interpretations are, of course, possible.
What does Daniela think her personal development priorities are?
Daniela is thinking of her needs very specifically in terms of developing brand and marketing skills. She sees this as a gap in her current skill set, which might limit her possibilities for promotion to the next level within the current organizational structure.
What are Dirk’s aims with his feedback?
Dirk is trying to get Daniela to think more broadly about her career development. He gives useful pragmatic feedback about her presentation skills, which is clearly important if she has to present to customers regularly. He also advises her to think more about the leadership aspect of her development, particularly in terms of strategic thinking at a time of change. Dirk thinks that Daniela should consider developing a more cross-functional mindset. He suggests that she should work on projects with R&D to broaden her skills beyond her own area, build her network and develop a wider profile within the organization.
How well does Daniela react to Dirk’s suggestions?
It’s not clear that Daniela really listens to or understands what Dirk is proposing and why. Her responses are generally negative, defending her own viewpoint and not thinking about the opportunities offered in an alternative viewpoint. On the other hand, one could say that Daniela has clear goals and is determined and focused on her own needs and motivations.
How could Dirk have handled this conversation more effectively?
Dirk’s style is direct and advisory. He tells Daniela what he thinks, with too little explanation of the benefits of his ideas for Daniela. As a result, it is too easy for Daniela to reject his ideas and not consider them fully. Dirk could have used more of a coaching style, asking Daniela open questions that could have helped her to reflect more and to engage with alternative ideas.