Feedback. A single word that can change your upbeat mood into a pensive one in a matter of seconds. While it can be both positive and negative, the negative aspect of a feedback conversation strikes most of us much more promptly. As employees, we dread its repercussions on our performance evaluations. As leaders, we often struggle to strike the right balance of giving constructive feedback without affecting the motivation levels of our teammates.
In order to grow and become better as a team and as individuals, it is impossible to avoid feedback. It is the foundation of improvement, required in order to achieve common goals, improve performance and increase productivity levels.
It may seem monumental but it is possible to create a culture where feedback is offered and taken with positivity. Investing effort in building an environment where feedback is welcomed can lead to extraordinary results. A culture that includes open dialogue is necessary in a team that hopes to remain united while achieving competitive goals. Inculcating this element in your organization means deliberate effort and initiatives which will facilitate this cultural change.
Instead an occasional conversation which is often preceded by mistake or an error, make feedback a norm in the organization. Whether it is positive or negative, feedback has to have a place in everyday conversations and discussions. Set up forums and channels that can help your teams to give each other feedback. As a leader of the team, create opportunities to give feedback to your employees between formal performance reviews. Use these same opportunities to ask for feedback as well. Set an example by welcoming feedback from every member of the team.
Be open and transparent about the need for feedback and your goals for the team. Understanding the importance of the feedback culture will help your team embrace this norm while discarding the emotions of feeling criticized, hurt or misunderstood. Be direct about the purpose of soliciting feedback from each other. At the same time, help your teams to provide feedback in a professional manner by training them and implementing feedback mechanisms.
Remove the negativity from the concept of feedback by ensuring that positive feedback is shared equally or more. A team that knows that their efforts are recognized will be more willing to listen to constructive criticism and make necessary amendments when the situation arises. Apart from this, positive feedback will also increase motivation and productivity levels. Reward the outcome of feedback by recognizing the change.
Offices and workplaces are seldom seen as places for emotion, vulnerability or sensitivity. An area of improvement can also be mistaken for a weakness. Feedback is inherently a sensitive topic unless leaders work towards regularizing it. The first step in giving feedback effectively is welcoming feedback. By inviting feedback, as a leader, you are making it okay to have difficult conversations at work without the weight and stress that they carry. Employees often model their actions and responses after their leader’s. Be open, ask for the truth, and welcome it with courage.