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:
- Regular, high-quality conversations between management and staff should be encouraged. It helps build sincere relationships.
- Timely feedback is crucial. It allows for issues to be addressed faster and within context.
- 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.
- A solutions-oriented approach supports forward-thinking and drives confidence. Positivity and honesty, with kindness, will foster growth and help workers thrive.
- 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.
- 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.
- Actions have consequences, and it is the manager's responsibility to communicate the bigger picture - how behavior can impact business.
- Recognizing an employee's strengths plus areas of improvement is important. Avoid veiled criticisms. These do not encourage a feedback-rich culture.
- A work environment within which to freely share perspectives, note obstacles, and formulate solutions makes for a happier workspace and a more successful business.
- 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.