I watched as a mother cheetah taught her young how to fend for themselves. She was aware of the dangers of their jungle world and was sharing her wisdom. She communicated to them with low growls and grunts, gave them or nips and firmer bites when displeased, and purred loudly when pleased. I realized she was giving them feedback on their performance.

The female interrupted the lesson she was giving her team when a large male approached. One of the cubs made a tentative move towards it but she put her paw on its head to keep it down. She knew the male would kill it in order to put her back into heat.

She gave the cubs a low growl, telling them to stay put, and then she readied herself to face the male for a fight ...to the death if required.

The male sensed her mood and moved away. After a few long minutes, mom purred and licked her obedient offspring. She soon was back to the task of team training: How to hunt 101.

I thought about the care that mother gave her progeny, and how she worked so diligently with them to hone their survival skills. She constantly was improving their performance and, as a result, they would become great hunters.

Imagine if your own team members were guided with that same diligence. Imagine if they were taught how to increase their creative capital so it improved their performance. In short order, wouldn’t you have all the talent you need to assure your success.

Here are 6 guidelines on giving feedback to your collaborators and employees:
  1. Give your feedback as soon as you note a less than desirable performance.
  2. Praise in public but criticize in private so your exchanges will be candid and open.
  3. Start by asking how they feel about the noted performance. This will allow you to assess their perception of themselves.
  4. Ask the person what he or she would like to improve in a particular performance. It is often easier if they identify areas of deficiency rather than you pointing them out. Pick one or two ideas that you agree with and then, together, develop a strategy to correct them.
  5. Set a time for the next evaluation and ensure the strategy is acted on by following through. Offer reminders.
  6. Always end a meeting on a positive note by reinforcing what went well.

Continuously express your commitment to your collaborators’ growth and success. And always thank people for making an extra effort to improve their performance.