I was recently reading an article written by Henry Winter where he mentioned some of the ideas that Sir ALex Ferguson has been covering in some interviews he’s been doing at Harvard and one bit stood out for me:
In a series of interviews in Harvard, Ferguson debated dealing with “fragile” egos in the dressing room, the power of the two simple words “well done” in motivating individuals and the importance of criticising players’ mistakes immediately after the match and then moving on.
I’ve written previously about giving feedback and I think we don’t place enough emphasis on how useful it is to give any feedback close to the time of the event.
My former colleague Ryan Greenhall was particularly good at noticing situations where timely feedback was required and I hadn’t realised how much of an impact doing that had.
The immediate benefit of the event is having it fresh in people’s minds when they’re talking about it, and we get an added benefit as well.
The more time that we leave between an event happening and reflecting on it, the more time there is for us to invent a story about what happened that helps to explain it.
In the story we create in our mind we’ll often associate negative traits/motives to the other person and exaggerate the importance of what happened until it doesn’t resemble what actually happened any more.
I tended to veer away from addressing things like this immediately because I thought it seemed like overreacting to believe that it was worth having a conversation but it now seems worthwhile.
In the worst case you just discover there was nothing to reflect on and in the best case you resolve any issues at the source.