Module 3: Mastering IBOLD


(Frame 1): Title Frame

  • Mahindra logo + Lead to Win (static frame; minimal animation)
  • Title Animation

Mastering IBOLD

How to Provide Feedback to be an Effective Manager

(5 – 8 seconds animation)

Start button (with an animated arrow pointing to it)


Frame 2: Course Intro

Approximate seat time for the learner: 0.75 mins

As a leader-manager, have you ever wondered how to best structure your feedback to help your team members succeed? Or, have you, despite your best intentions, struggled to prevent your team members from reacting negatively to constructive feedback?

If yes, then this module is just for you.

Specifically, we will learn about the IBOLD model to structuring constructive, developmental feedback in this module such that it enables the receiver to reflect and then act upon the feedback received.

Let’s not waste any more time then. Please click on the Next button to get learning.

Happy learning!




Frame 3: Giving Non-Judgmental Constructive Feedback

Approximate seat time for the learner: 14 mins.

Many a manager struggles to provide non-judgmental constructive feedback. Not Shantanu, our protagonist in this video, who we are just going to study.

There has been a breakdown in the factory, and Rakesh, the supervisor on duty, could have avoided the breakdown if he had taken note of the machine performance dropping over time. , the Factory Manager and Rakesh’s line manager, decides to share his feedback with Rakesh to ensure this doesn’t repeat.

Please click on the View video button on your screen to watch how this interaction pans out.


Video Script

Rakesh (knocking on the door to the meeting room; smiling): “Hey Shantanu, please may I come in?”

Shantanu (working on his laptop; looks up. Smiles when he sees that it is Rakesh): “Hey, Rakesh, please come in.”

Rakesh walks in.

Shantanu (smiling broadly): “Have a seat, buddy.”

Rakesh pulls out a chair and sits down; slightly “closed” to Shantanu

Shantanu, (smiling; leaning back in his chair – open body language – body angled towards Rakesh): “How was dinner last night? You had mentioned that you are having guests over at your place for dinner.”

Rakesh, smiling – his body language “opens up” to Shantanu – camera to capture this movement – over-the-shoulder shot as seen from Shantanu’s perspective: “It was lovely. We had my wife’s sister and her husband over.”

Shantanu (smiling – almost chuckling): “Oh, wow. It sounds like it must have been fun.”

Rakesh (laughing a bit): “Absolutely was! How was your evening yesterday?”

Shantanu laughs a bit too. “It was the usual kind of evening for me. Home, dinner, spend time with the family, read and off to bed.”

Rakesh (smiling): “That’s lovely.”

Shantanu (smiling): “Yeah, it was. Thanks, Rakesh.

(DIfferent angle) By the way, do you have any idea why I had requested this meeting?”

Rakesh (smiles): “I’m guessing it is about the breakdown in the factory last week?”

Shantanu (open body language, leans forward slightly hand on the table, palms facing downwards,

Making eye contact with Rakesh — >this must be a two-shot, and smiling broadly; speaking in a pleasant tone of voice): “That’s right. I wanted to talk about the breakdown in the factory last week.”

Rakesh (not smiling. His body language, expression and tone of voice convey that he is on board with what Shantanu intends from this conversation):Yes. We absolutely must talk about that breakdown, and I know that such incidents must never happen, or at least not happen twice.”

Shantanu (smiling): “You are right. Mistakes must be avoided or at least never repeated. However, I also have a broader intent behind our conversation. I was hoping you could help me understand the overall breakdown incident and identify what could have been done differently to prevent this type of breakdown. Most importantly, though, what I most intend to do is to work with you to help improve the factory output and to help you succeed in your career, consequently.”

Rakesh (smiling slightly): “Thanks, Shantanu. I want to learn how I could grow in my career.”

Shantanu (sits back, smiling): “This is what I’ve always admired about you, Rakesh. You are open to developmental feedback.”

Rakesh (smiling; sits back too. Mirrors Shantanu’s body language subtly without making it appear that he is parodying him): “Actually, I’ve learned it from people around me. Giving and receiving feedback is ingrained in this company’s culture.” Shantanu makes steady eye contact and nods as he listens to Rakesh speak.

Shantanu (nodding; smiling): “Yep. That’s right, it is.”

Rakesh (a slightly concerned look on his face): “Shantanu, what do you think I did wrong that led to the error?”

Shantanu (smiling; open body language): “Hmmm. Allow me to help us get to the bottom of that mystery. Tell me, When did you first realise that the Air Compressor machine was not operating optimally?”

Rakesh: “Hmm… around three days before the breakdown, if I remember right.”

Shantanu: “And, what did you do when you found out about the machine not operating as desired?”

Rakesh (scratching his chin as though thinking): “I decided to wait until the weekend to get an engineer to inspect the machine.”

Shantanu (in a non-threatening tone of voice; open body language): Okay, and what happened next?

Rakesh (looking sad): Unfortunately, the machine broke down before that

Shantanu (NOT smiling here): So, you’ve managed to figure out for yourself what exactly caused the breakdown?

Rakesh (looking sad): Yes, I didn’t bring the dip in machine performance to the right people’s notice in time.

Shantanu (NOT smiling here): That’s right, Rakesh.

(Smiling again) However, looking at things from the CAB behaviours standpoint, which behaviours do you think you failed to practice, which led to the error?

Rakesh (scratches his forehead as though thinking) Hmmm… Let me think… I hadn’t thought this through earlier… Was it Collaboration?

Shantanu (slight smile; open body language; makes steady eye contact): Could be.



Rakesh: So, we define Collaboration as (counts using his fingers but mentally)…. I guess all three components: responding to change, proactively taking the initiative and taking swift actions.

Shantanu (Smiling broadly now, maintaining open body language and steady eye contact): Well done, Rakesh. However, just to explore a bit more: do you think you missed out on any of the other CAB behaviours?

Rakesh: Hmmm… (thinking) Is it… Agility? Wait, let me think… We define Agility as… our response to change, proactively taking the initiative, and taking swift decisions. Also, Boldness is defined as… (counts using his fingers but mentally)…. I definitely missed out on Agility and perhaps Boldness because my action caused us to miss our commitments; our production schedules. Shantanu makes steady eye contact and nods as he listens to Rakesh speak*.

Shantanu (Smiling broadly now; open body language; makes steady eye contact): I genuinely admire how honest you can be with yourself.

Now, Rakesh, I am sure you are aware of the breakdown’s impact on the production schedules. However, do you know what else is affected?

Rakesh: No, actually, I did not think of that? Did it have any significant impact on other areas of our organisation?

Shantanu (Not smiling): Yes, production schedule disruption was one consequence of the breakdown. However, are you aware that we missed a critical deliverable, and as a result, the engineering team had to postpone the launch date by three days and because of which all the printed marketing material had to be scrapped because of the new launch date that had to be added to this collateral?

Rakesh (Not smiling): I hear you, Shantanu. And I am so sorry. I did not realise that. Did that cost the organisation in any way? Did it have too much of a financial impact, I mean?

Shantanu (Smiling slightly; benevolent tone of voice): You are new to this team, Rakesh, so I can understand that you do not know this. However, I do not intend to make you feel bad – it did cost the organisation a good deal of money. Can you guess what it cost the company to push the launch date by just a few days?

Rakesh: (thinking and then responding tentatively and apologetically) Well, I can’t…. I mean…. I wouldn’t know….

Shantanu: Well, it cost us 1.5 million rupees.

Rakesh (looking guilty): Oh… that’s…. that’s terrible…. I’m sor…. I’m really sorry.

Shantanu (speaking kindly): I know you are.

Now, Rakesh, it happened once. But I want to ensure that it does not happen again. Let’s jointly come up with a development plan for you. What do you think you could do to ensure that such mistakes do not occur…

Audio fades… Shantanu and Rakesh are seen speaking. They refer to a book as Shantanu takes notes as they talk (no audio, only visuals and background music).

Rakesh (Smiling broadly): Wow, there is a plan. Is there anything else I could do differently?

Shantanu (Thinking briefly and then speaks smiling): Hmmm, no… that would suffice for now. And since I have documented our action plan, I will share this with you via email for your reference.

Rakesh (Smiling broadly): Thanks for your inputs and for documenting our action plan, Shantanu. I will definitely seek your guidance whenever I feel the need for it.

The scene fades out and transitions to the narrator.


And with that, Rakesh had a concrete plan of action that would help him prevent future mistakes and grow in his career. All because Shantanu, his manager, embraced the correct practices concerning providing non-judgmental constructive feedback.

And if we break that conversation down*, we will be able to learn these very practices ourselves.

Let’s start by looking at these two clips.


Shantanu, as we notice, begins by stating what their dialogue is going to be all about; about what he hopes to achieve from their dialogue. In other words, he provides information on his  Intent.

When you, as a manager, are providing developmental feedback to your team member, it helps, like Shantanu did, to begin with, the intent behind the conversation. Specifically, you can say things like “I intend to see you successful”, “My goal is to help improve performance”, or “I care enough to see you successful” or “It is important that you are seen as effective”.

Doing so helps lower your team member’s defence mechanism and makes them more open to you.

Let’s revisit these few clips next.


After explaining the Intent behind their dialogue, Shantanu then requests his team member’s inputs on his actions or Behaviours, which led to the errors. Especially, he helps his team member identify which of the CAB behaviours were missed out on, which led to the error.

Likewise, when you, as a manager, are conducting the feedback dialogue, share inputs on what you have heard or seen about your team member and not on something hypothetical or anticipated. Here are a few examples of inputs on observed behaviour: “I noticed that you raised your voice in last two meetings when the issue of new design came up…” or “I read your mail, pointing various gaps in the design submitted.” Or “I saw you using words like ‘incompetent’, ‘useless’ while dealing with the Production-In-Charge on the floor.

Next, let’s study Rakesh’s conduct in these clips here


After discussing the behaviours or actions that led to the mistake, Shantanu helps Rakesh understand the Outcome of his mistakes.

Sharing the outcome of your team member’s conduct or actions is a vital part of the feedback dialogue. Without this, your team member will fail to grasp the gravity of the situation and the need for change. A point to note: communicate the impact of the team member’s behaviour on the team, the organisation, performance, or themselves in no uncertain terms.

Watch this clip now to study what Shantanu does throughout their interaction.


As you can see in these clips, Shantanu Listens intently to Rakesh speaking.

Throughout the dialogue, ask clarification questions when your team member provides their inputs. Do not merely accept your version of events as the truth. Be curious and seek to understand their point of view. Here you can ask questions like “How do you see it?” or “I want to listen to your viewpoint”, or “What’s your perspective on this situation?”

And finally, let’s watch how Shantanu leads the conversation to its logical conclusion.


As we saw in that clip, Shantanu Documents What Happens Next with his team member, where he notes the next steps that they agree on.

Here, you can say something like: “So, you agree to attempt to resolve the issues with other teams before escalating it to anyone else? When can we review the same?”

“Send me an email, stating who will do what by when and how are we going to follow up.”

“Let me note this down, and I also will text you as soon as it is done.”

Now, why is the documentation required? Simple: if you don’t document the next steps that you have jointly arrived at, things may simply slip out of everyone’s mind, and the discussion will be for nothing. Also, documentation lends seriousness to the conversation and helps build accountability.

A point to note: here, only the potential development areas are documented. If you feel that the matter discussed during the IBOLD conversation requires it, please schedule a structured Learning and Growth Plan (LGP) or a development plan dialogue later and document this.

Please take a look at the various elements of Shantanu’s dialogue with his team member. He explains the Intent behind the conversation; he helps Rakesh isolate the Behaviors that led to the sub-par outcomes; he discusses the Outcome of Rakesh’s behaviours and Listens intently as Rakesh speaks, and, lastly, Documents What Will Happens Next.

This is the ideal model to provide non-judgmental constructive feedback, which we call IBOLD! We strongly encourage you to master this model. It will stand you in good stead throughout your career.

Please click on the Revisit Video button if you wish to or click on the Next button to progress to the next part of this module.


Frame 4: Documenting the Feedback

(Note: this section is only for managers)

Approximate seat time for the learner: 1.6 mins for the narrator part + XX for the examples


In the previous section, we had discussed the importance of documenting the next steps at the end of the IBOLD feedback dialogue

Now, such documentation must contain all required details, or it will fail to help you in the future.

We’ve provided examples of notes recorded by two different managers at the end of the IBOLD discussion. Click on each of these buttons to preview the detail in the notes captured by them.

As you would have noticed, the documentation in the first example is thin in detail and will not serve to guide any future interactions between the manager and the team member. The notes documented by the manager in example two, on the other hand, will help guide their future interactions.

Bottom line, be detailed in your note-taking when documenting the IBOLD feedback dialogue. Specifically, note the following points:

  • The goals, whether the team member’s KRA or the CAB behaviours being addressed
  • The need for improvement
  • The expectations you have of them, including the time within which you expect the change to be displayed and the review intervals

Done going through this section on the post-IBOLD dialogue documentation? Please click on the next button to proceed.



Frame 5: The IBOLD Framework, a Recap

Approximate seat time for the learner: 1 min and 45 seconds


So far, in this module, we have learned about the IBOLD model that one can use to structure feedback.

IBOLD, as you will recollect, stands for:

Intent – Sharing what you hope to achieve from the feedback dialogue

Behaviours – Clearly stating the behaviours or actions you are addressing in the dialogue

Outcome – Mentioning the fallout or consequence of the actions being discussed

Listen – Listening to the other party’s side of the story with an intent to understand them

Document – Documenting the next steps and action plan that you’ve arrived at


Now, the example that we had presented earlier to introduce the IBOLD framework referenced a performance dialogue. However, the IBOLD framework is versatile enough to be used to provide all manner of feedback. You can use it to provide feedback to your peers, vendors, partners or anyone else.

It’s a powerful model, and we strongly encourage you to master it. We wish you luck in your endeavours.

That was all we had as learning inputs for you in this module. Please click on the “Structured Rehearsal” button to try your hand at choosing the right managerial behaviours in the given case.

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