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Learning How To Give Effective Feedback From Jiminy Cricket

If we dig deep into the corners of our mind, we might recall a small but significant character in those old Walt Disney movies — Jiminy Cricket.  

An anthropomorphic cricket, Jiminy Cricket, was Pinocchio’s companion throughout the movie. He is a brave, conscientious little cricket, often giving Pinnochio feedback and advice and persuading Pinocchio to behave better.  

But wait. How is cricket relevant to leadership development?

We can learn a little from Jiminy Cricket, who has essential qualities that can teach us valuable lessons in leadership. His approach with Pinocchio aligns very surprisingly with practical leadership principles in giving constructive and actionable feedback.

Constructive Criticism

Jiminy Cricket is a guiding force for Pinocchio, providing him with gentle constructive criticism to help him become a better person. We can all learn from this approach by recognising the value of highlighting mistakes and offering specific suggestions on improving, all with the genuine intention of helping our team members grow.

Supportive and Empathetic Approach

Whilst pointing out Pinocchio’s errors, Jiminy Cricket is careful to remain supportive and compassionate.  He is obviously often frustrated with his wooden friend, but he remains stoically supportive.  This support and compassion towards a team member’s struggles help foster an environment where individuals feel safe to learn from their mistakes instead of feeling unfairly or harshly criticised. It is a crucial part of our leadership roles in fostering psychological safety, where empathy and reassuring support are essential for effective feedback.

Clear and Specific Feedback

Jiminy Cricket provides clear and specific feedback by highlighting the areas where Pinocchio needs to improve and offers practical advice on how to do so.  He points out Pinno’s short-comings exactly and precisely and is very prescriptive of what Pinno should do to correct his mistakes.  Similarly, leaders should follow through with feedback by providing precise and actionable input that enables team members to understand what they need to work on and where to make positive changes.

Positive Reinforcement 

Along with constructive criticism, Jiminy Cricket offers positive reinforcement when Pinocchio demonstrates growth or makes good choices. This balanced approach of acknowledging progress whilst still pointing out areas for improvement is crucial for motivation and fosters a growth mindset. Leaders can take a leaf out from Jiminy’ s playbook and embrace this balance to inspire and empower their team members.

By embodying these qualities, Jiminy Cricket shows us that effective feedback should be constructive, supportive, specific, and balanced with positive reinforcement.

“Feedback to Feedforward” is critical to a leader’s competency.

At Kaleidoskope, our workshops focus on cultivating effective feedback practices that improve and enhance employee performance and engagement, replacing negative feedback or criticism with future-oriented solutions.

 We start by exploring the power of our words and the conscious selection of our words in giving feedback. It has been proven that our spoken words are linked to neural pathways that trigger positive or negative reactions in our team members or our stakeholders. Therefore, an empathetic and supportive approach is critical to giving feedback.

 We will then explore feedback principles, frameworks, and best practices, understanding and dissecting the various and different techniques required to deliver feedback most appropriately and effectively. Then we further examine the challenges that leaders and managers face in giving feedback and how leadership skills are enhanced through providing constructive and actionable feedback.

 Finally, we look at establishing a feedback culture in the organisation. Leaders should not just learn how to give feedback but also how to RECEIVE feedback. Feedback is a critical tool for continuous learning and improvement, and when deployed in the right way, it will promote growth mindsets within the teams and organisations.

  1. The Power of Words: We explore the impact of the conscious selection of our words in giving feedback. The words we utter are evidently connected to neural connections, which influence positive or negative responses among team members. Understanding the importance of an empathetic and supportive approach is essential when delivering feedback
  2. Feedback Principles and Best Practices: We delve into the principles, frameworks, and best practices of delivering effective feedback. By understanding and dissecting various techniques, leaders gain insights into giving feedback most appropriately and effectively 
  3. Overcoming Challenges: We address the common challenges leaders and managers face when giving feedback, emphasising how providing constructive and actionable feedback can enhance their leadership skills.
  4. Establishing a Feedback Culture: Leaders learn not only how to give feedback but also how to receive feedback themselves. Feedback is a critical tool for continuous learning and improvement, and when deployed in the right way, it will promote growth mindsets within the teams and organisations.

The Takeaway

Feedback often triggers an emotional response in the recipient, and we cannot overstate how important it is to understand the psychology of communication and the emotional triggers that are activated in the feedback process. By embodying the qualities demonstrated by Jiminy Cricket—constructive criticism, a supportive approach, clear and specific feedback, and positive reinforcement—leaders can create an environment that encourages growth, learning, and continuous improvement. Effective feedback benefits individual team members and contributes to the overall success of leaders, teams and your organisation.

At Kaleidoskope, we offer a leadership programme to help your teams and managers apply the practices of psychological safety and effectively mitigate the detrimental effects of a fear-driven culture. With our many years of combined industry expertise in learning and development, we are confident to offer pragmatic, holistic programs tailored to your business needs.

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