Feedback Brunch’s Bottomless Mimosa

How to give feedback to an employee


Feedback and recognition are two sides of the same coin.

They both create alignment and unity if done right. So here are our winning ingredients to make giving feedback feel as easy-breezy as a Sunday brunch, because recognition isn’t always kudos.

In this edition of Winning Ingredients, we’re featuring Feedback Brunch’s Bottomless Mimosa recipe for a growth-oriented, feedback-focused team.


Step 1: Prepare yourself. Like brunch, giving feedback is a state of mind.

Figure out your intention first. What do you want the outcome to be? Then check your attitude. Are you feeling nervous, frustrated, stressed? Can you shift your attitude to something that will help you have a more successful interaction? Choose your behavior. Decide how you want to handle this conversation with this specific person. Maybe you need to be more of a listener or maybe you need to push a little bit. Again, what will help you have a successful interaction?


Step 2: Start by pouring the orange juice opener. 

How you start the conversation sets the tone. Start with the issue, then provide two specific examples that you’ve seen (no hearsay). End with an open question that gets them talking (“Why do you think that happened?” “What caused that behavior?”). Now listen, listen, and keep listening. Ask questions only when you’ve exhausted a topic.

WARNING: Do not jump to solution mode.


Step 3: Swirl in your suppose statement triple sec.

You’ve listened. You’ve heard all the explanations. But there could be more. To really get to the bottom of this issue, use a “suppose” statement.

“Suppose we could resolve____, and I’m not saying we can, but if we could, are there any other reasons why you think ___ is happening?”

You’ll either get deeper and learn more about what’s going on or hear a “no, that’s the issue.” Repeat this until you’ve uncovered all there is to uncover.


Step 4: Top off your drink with C.A.P. it champagne. 

All the issues are laid out on the table. Now’s the time to ask their thoughts on a game plan and then offer tweaks or suggestions. Once you’re in agreement on the plan, have them follow up by setting up time for you two to reconvene on the progress, initiating the action, and/or publishing the notes from your meeting in a follow-up email.


Step 5: And repeat 20x until your pitcher is full.

As a leader, you’ll have to have these feedback conversations many times over the course of your career.

Even though feedback conversations can be harder to have, they’re just as impactful as recognition. Your team will remember the conversations where you saw them in their bad moments and recognized the issue, heard them out, and collaborated on a solution instead of reprimanding them.


–> Check out another leadership cocktail recipe on how to make time for professional development.

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