We haven't come across a single person who doesn't seek feedback to understand how their work is valued. We need it to feel relevant, to feel effective and to feel we're responsible for our own achievements.
We are seeing organizations trend towards continous feedback - which is more frequent and responsive than the old fashioned annual performance review. A first step to improving feedback in your team is to share the sort of feedback rituals you’d each find helpful and more rewarding to be a part of.
Psychological research is showing that a focus on weaknesses actually reduces performance, whereas a strengths-based approach leads to more positive outcomes.
When giving strengths-based feedback share what's gone well. Identify your colleague's contribution and discuss together how to replicate and amplify this contribution in the future. When colleagues are sharing their struggles, encourage them to examine their difficulties in light of their capacities, talents, competencies, possibilities, visions, values and hopes.
Positive feedback is essential for sustaining individual motivation and group performance. It’s really powerful when its public and specific – the sort of thing we can take home and share with loved ones.
When showing appreciation for something someone has done, think about how you can make it more specific and use the Thank-you Notes in Friday to share your positive feedback publically.
Check your reasons for giving constructive feedback - if it's to complain, to punish or make yourself feel better then don't do it. We need less venting and shaming in workplaces and greater focus on building a more positive future together.
Constructive feedback is best received one-to-one, and when it’s timely, precise and clear. It’s really powerful when accompanied by the opportunity to discuss and agree on concrete ideas for moving forward which feel actionable.
When receiving feedback we can be flooded with emotion - relief if it's positive feedback; shame if we perceive it to be negative. And this emotion can prevent us from clearly hearing the message we need to take away. If we can get into the habit of repeating back feedback we've received, we can validate we've understood it correctly.
When the feedback is positive this validation process helps us to dwell in the positive a little longer than we might normally - and this creates the space for positive emotions to flow.
When we perceive the feedback to be negative, the validation process is an opportunity to reach a common understanding. When the person giving feedback hears it in your words, this can help them clarify what they'd like to emphasize.
Feedback is a lot less threatening when we've decided we need it. Try and shape your feedback processes by doing some pre-work to identify how you'd like to grow and develop. Use these growth areas as the basis for soliciting constructive feedback.
And leave the door open for people to give positive feedback on anything they choose - this way you capture things others appreciate, which you may not have celebrated about yourself!