Things for teams to try: Improving Feedback

Everyone wants feedback to understand how their work is valued. We need it to feel relevant, effective and to feel we're responsible for our own achievements.

11 Feedback - team

1. Create your own feedback culture

Organizations are moving towards continuous feedback - which is more frequent and responsive than the old-fashioned annual performance review. Why not give it a go!

How to do it:

  • As a team, share the kind of feedback rituals you would each find helpful and most rewarding to be a part of.
  • Try implementing each of the rituals individually with plenty of time to then assess what does and doesn’t work for different people.

2. Move away from focusing on weaknesses

Research shows that focusing on weaknesses actually reduces performance, while a strengths-based approach leads to more positive outcomes.

How to do it:

  • When giving strengths-based feedback, share what's gone well by identifying your colleague's contribution. Then discuss how to replicate and amplify this.
  • When colleagues are sharing their struggles, encourage them to examine them in the context 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 it's public and specific.

How to do it:

  • Think about how you can make the appreciation you share more specific.
  • Try using the Thank-you Notes in Friday Pulse to share your positive feedback publicly.

4. Take care giving constructive feedback

Check your reasons for giving constructive feedback. If it's to complain, punish or make yourself feel better, don't do it. Venting and shaming in workplace is not helpful – we need to focus on building a positive future together instead.

How to do it:

  • Think about the feedback you want to give. Interrogate why you want to give the feedback
  • Then give any feedback which is constructive in a one-to-one context (or to a line manager for a one to one session) and make sure it’s timely, precise and clear.
  • Make constructive feedback more powerful by discussing and agreeing on concrete actionable ideas for moving forward.

5. Validate what you hear

When we get feedback we can be flooded with emotions - relief if it's positive or shame if we feel it’s negative. Our emotions can stop us from clearly hearing the feedback. Validating it can help ensure we understand it correctly.

How to do it:

  • Get into the habit of repeating back the feedback you receive to validate you've understood it correctly.
  • When the feedback is positive this validation process helps us to dwell on 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 of what is being shared.
  • When the person giving feedback hears it in your words, this can help them clarify what they'd like to emphasize.