It's 2019. Employees need to feel connected to their team and understand how they're going in real-time. They expect helpful feedback in-the-moment, rather than saved up for months at a time. Giving feedback is not always comfortable, so what's the easiest way to do it?
We recommend making the experience non-threatening and built on trust from the get-go. But where and how do you start?
Here's how it works.
1. Start with Praise Only
Undo previously built mindsets that feedback = trouble. Praise is feedback. And done properly it is the most powerful feedback you can give. The key is to identify the specific behavior or outcome that you would like to see repeated.
Let the person know specifically what they did that was so good, and the impact that it had on you or the team.
Starting with praise sets you up for success:
- It's not awkward for the giver or recipient.
- You're building trust in the system, so if you need to bring up an issue it's balanced by previous praise.
- Most importantly you're letting your team know what to do more of.
Try to share praise at least once a week with every team member.
2. Feed-Forward, Not Back
We recommend an entirely future focused way of doing feedback, you might even call it feed-forward. So what does that look like?
We could rephrase "Your presentation lacked visual impact and should have had more images." ...to be "Next time you give a presentation, consider adding more images to create greater visual impact."
When you feed-forward you are doing two things:
- Creating an opportunity for the recipient to improve in the future, rather than criticizing what has been done.
- Shifting your feedback from a 'statement of fact' to a 'change to consider'.
You'll note how we used the word 'consider' in the rephrased version. This simple change empowers the recipient by trusting them with the decision to implement your feedback or not. It immediately drops the automatic push-back response you're likely to get if using authority to 'tell' people what to do.
3. Request Feedback
What better way for a leader to show that feedback is a part of the culture than by actively requesting feedback on their own interactions.
This doesn't have to be a big deal, it could simply be asking "How can I help you to be more effective?"
Here's the thing, according to Dean Carter who heads up People & Culture for Patagonia:
Once employees begin to feel comfortable asking colleagues for feedback, a cascading effect takes place. The person who was asked to provide feedback is three times more likely to ask people for feedback on his or her performance. When you ask for feedback, you create generosity in the system and it explodes exponentially.*
With Crewmojo, we help you amplify the praise process with our gentle nudges and workplace integrations. Team members can share praise into a public channel which gets others involved with re-enforcing the positive vibes.... And it also models the behavior for others to see and repeat, building a feedback culture even quicker.
Feedback is a critical part of continuous performance management and will always be found fueling modern cultures of performance.