Things for teams to try: Improving feedback

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.

11 Feedback - team

1. Create your own feedback culture

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.

2. Move away from focusing on weaknesses

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.

3. Improve how you give positive feedback

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.

4. Take care with how you give constructive feedback

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.

5. Validate what you hear

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.

6. Own your feedback story

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!

7. Try this fun strengths-based feedback exercise!

  1. Give everyone a piece of paper and ask them to stick it to their backs
  2. Ask everyone to find a pen
  3. Ask people to pair up and each write a strength on each other's back (strengths can include qualities, behaviours, values, skills and life experience)
  4. Ask that people move around the room to find a new colleague
  5. Repeat the process a few times over (until your time allows)
  6. Ask people to retrieve the paper from their back and read all the lovely things that have been said about them