Providing feedback and receiving it is a great way to make your team thrive. But the question is: How do we provide effective feedback?
According to Harvard Business Review, it’s not the leaders’ responsibility to be providing everyone with feedback. The article quotes Mary Shapiro a teacher at Simmons College and author of: HBR Guide to Leading Teams, she states: “You can’t be the only one holding everyone accountable because you can’t possibly observe everything that’s going on.”
But how can we create effective feedback to help our teams thrive?
When you’re about to provide with constructive feedback, here are a couple of things to keep in mind before doing so:
→ Ask the person if they’re up for a 1-1 feedback session
It is very important to ask the person you’ll be providing feedback if they are free and willing to receive constructive feedback on whatever the subject/matter is. At times, some like to be given a heads-up about receiving feedback and/or
→ Concentrate on the actions done, not the person
It is vital to learn how to say things without sounding accusatory. According to The University of Waterloo, providing balanced feedback is key for a constructive conversation: “ Begin by providing comments on specific strengths. This provides reinforcement and identifies the things the recipient should keep doing. Then identify specific areas of improvement and ways to make changes. Conclude with a positive comment.”
→ Be specific in your delivery
Try to provide very specific examples of the person’s actions/behavior that needs improvement, and try to avoid general comments that won’t add anything to the conversation.
For example: Your speech was great, you spoke loudly and paused. Your hands and posture were a bit all over the place and caused distraction, but with some practice, you can overcome this. Keep up with the good work!
Instead of: You had a terrible posture, you always do the same thing. Other than that, everything was great.
→ Be realistic about your feedback
It is utterly pointless to offer feedback that the receiver has no control over. Provide key points that the end-receiver will be able to change and with practice, get better at it.
In our example from above: We offered feedback on the person’s posture and hands – that is something the person can change with practice and awareness.
What not to say: Your posture was so terrible during your speech, I don’t think anyone paid attention to what you were saying.
→ Offer continuous support
Offering constructive feedback to your teammate is a continuous process. It is advised to check-in with the end-receiver and check if they’ve made progress with anything they needed improvement with. Showing up for your teammate and letting them know whatever you said was and is important, and you wish them to improve in that specific task.
Now that we’ve shared with you pointers on how to offer constructive feedback, what are its benefits and why you should be encouraging with your organization?
According to T-Three, “Feedback is the breakfast of champions. It supplies us with the energy we need to get through the day, feedback is the fuel a team needs to perform at its best.
→ It provides people/teams with great insight to enhance their potential. A deep insight on their strengths and weaknesses.
→ Team feedback strengthens their communication amongst them, making them stronger to share ideas, feedback and redirect their course of action.
→ Offering constructive and regular feedback sets colleagues up for improvement – constantly. But also, with today’s workflow, many are working in different parts of the world so offering constant feedback helps teams to re-align their strategies and goals.
→ Don’t forget to give recognition and credit where it’s due.
Giving recognition to the person is as important as providing constructive feedback. Acknowledging someone’s efforts is essential so it shows that they are also doing a great job. Not everything needs to be about providing constructive feedback, but also, celebrating a team’s achievements causes everyone to feel motivated and engaged.
How do we encourage our teams to give feedback?
Offering feedback is a skill, learned. Some are natural at providing constructive feedback while for others is a learning curb.
How can we incite feedback within a team?
T-three states in an article that creating a safe space for people to offer their constructive feedback is a must. Firstly, creating a group meeting to check-in with everyone, a review on things on how everyone is doing on a personal level. Encourage team members to give their point of view on things so they get used in offering their opinion on different subjects.
Also, another alternative is providing feedback anonymously. Teams feel more at ease sharing their real points of views about a certain subject/or organization. In addition, it prepares them to provide feedback on a regular basis.
If you’re an organization, what are ways to receive feedback for you to improve?
→ Survey your employees
Create effective surveys to receive feedback on whatever topic you wish to get an insight on.
→ Conduct exit interviews
Employees that are making an exit and out of the organization, these are the people who need to be talking the most. Why are they leaving, what was their favorite bit working there and what areas as an organization needs improvement .
→ Have 1-1 sessions with employees
Creating a safe space for employees to get their point of view on a certain topic and open a dialogue is important to establish connection, listening and understanding.
→ Conduct workplace reviews
Learning what your organization or team thinks about the workplace environment is key for employee retention and engagement.
Feedback is not an easy skill to master, but one we must all learn to give and receive. Providing constructive feedback not only helps our team to thrive, but also is a great strategy – when implemented right – constructive for an organization. To always move forward and better.