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Leadership: 10 Ways To Master the Art of Giving Feedback

One of the most valuable tools for fostering communication and growth in a business is feedback, and although there is no one-size-fits-all approach here, a feedback-rich company culture is one that encourages passion and nurtures abilities.

When we think of feedback in the workplace, we may consider that it:

  • provides individuals with information about their performance
  • highlights areas for improvement 
  • reinforces positive behavior

...but there's more.

Feedback helps individuals understand how their work aligns with organizational goals and expectations. It fosters a culture of honesty, allowing for quick and effective problem-solving. It promotes a foundation of safety and trust in the workplace.

Referencing a quote by Gallup - "...though managers drive the culture, employees fuel it" - the notion of feedback is closely connected to employee engagement, a practice that, if applied mindfully, can create a culture of ongoing improvement. There is a reciprocal nature here: constructive feedback is essential to building relationships, and good relationships form a gateway to offering well-received feedback. 

Therefore, if done right, feedback is a powerful mechanism for personal and professional development for all in the organization. 

10 Ways To Optimize Feedback 

Reflect on these ten pointers when considering feedback within your team or organization: 

  1. Regular, high-quality conversations between management and staff should be encouraged. It helps build sincere relationships. 
  2. Timely feedback is crucial. It allows for issues to be addressed faster and within context. 
  3. Guidance on how to succeed rather than on what to avoid is key. Overly punitive feedback may cause individuals to doubt themselves and hinder their ability to work independently.
  4. A solutions-oriented approach supports forward-thinking and drives confidence. Positivity and honesty, with kindness, will foster growth and help workers thrive. 
  5. Concise and clear feedback avoids confusion. It can be tricky for a worker to process multiple points of constructive feedback. First-person statements help with clarity.
  6. The employee's perspective 'counts' too and should be heard. Therefore, listen. A rule of thumb is that managers should aim to listen 70% of the time and speak 30% of the time
  7. Actions have consequences, and it is the manager's responsibility to communicate the bigger picture - how behavior can impact business. 
  8. Recognizing an employee's strengths plus areas of improvement is important. Avoid veiled criticisms. These do not encourage a feedback-rich culture. 
  9. A work environment within which to freely share perspectives, note obstacles, and formulate solutions makes for a happier workspace and a more successful business.
  10. Support 360-degree (all round) feedback. According to a study by Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman, the best leaders actively seek feedback. Promoting feedback in all directions helps form a sense of shared ownership around deliverables and creates a thriving business and work environment. 

Feedback is a vital component of effective communication in the workplace. It promotes growth, enhances performance, and strengthens relationships. By following best practices for delivering and receiving feedback, organizations can foster a culture of continuous learning and development, leading to individual and collective success. 

Interested in learning more about leadership? Read our blog where we post regularly about personal and professional development.

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