Not only is Kenny Loggins’ “Danger Zone” catchy and identified with one of my favorite movies, Top Gun, but I use its unique message to motivate my leaders. To build trust and authentic relationships with your people, I believe that you need to embrace the danger zone. You’re probably wondering, what is the danger zone – let me tell you more!
Addressing Concerns Head-On
The danger zone involves talking through the uncomfortable things that are necessary for your team to flourish. These conversations can include anything related to performance, deadlines and quality of work. If you’re a leader and not addressing concerns with your team, then what are you doing to hold your people accountable? Not only should these conversations happen in annual reviews, but they should happen throughout the year. As a leader, when you believe one of your team members isn’t creating their best work, you should address the situation head-on. I hope you ride straight into the danger zone (Tom Cruise style).
I see too many leaders avoid conflict in their teams. If the issue isn’t raised, the person in question won’t have the opportunity to correct a problem that needs fixing. As leaders, we should always give actionable feedback – not only positive, but you need to walk the line to have valuable conversations.
Delivering Constructive Feedback
If you aren’t sure how to provide constructive criticism, try the feedback sandwich! This is when you place a piece of constructive criticism in between two slices of positive reinforcement. Be sure to include specific examples to eliminate confusion during the conversation. The next time you give a piece of feedback to your team members, I highly encourage you to use this method.
Don’t set yourself up for trouble by misleading your team. Share clear, honest and constructive feedback to earn the trust of your people. The next time you think a tough conversation is on the horizon, ride right into the danger zone and let me know how it goes!