Over the past few weeks we’ve been exploring the Foundations of Feedback. Feedback as I’ve mentioned in past posts is an area that both new and experienced team leaders can struggle in. While past posts have looked at the WHY and HOW of Feedback, today’s post explores things you can do to create a culture of feedback, where it is regularly and freely given and received, without fear. As in any culture change initiative the shift to this kind of culture is often gradual.
Three key things to consider in creating a culture of feedback is:
1. Creating an Enabling Environment for Feedback
In creating an enabling environment leaders and team members will want to keep in mind a number of factors including style, relevance, timing, and follow up.
Just as in other communication and development activities, keeping in mind the style preferences of each team member can help in making feedback more meaningful, while pointing to areas for growth. As a big picture thinker myself, having my superior start by providing feedback around the broad strokes areas can open up the feedback conversation, and they can also help me by providing feedback on the “detail” areas that don’t work as well.
As mentioned in other posts, feedback should be relevant to current priorities, and work. If feedback is left too long it can become irrelevant. In this respect timing is critical. Past posts in this series have also explored how preparation on the part of those giving and receiving feedback is important. Finally, follow up is key. This was focused on in Teams365 #869 post. When there is no follow-through to how action steps are being undertaken to implement the changes asked for by feedback, it simply becomes a “rote” activity. Closing the feedback loop is essential in creating a culture which values feedback and learning.
2. Modelling feedback across the organization.
When feedback is modelled at all levels by asking for, and providing positive and constructive feedback, both formally and informally it creates a safety across an organization. Having senior leaders model healthy feedback conversations and their follow up, signals to other parts of the organization that feedback is important.
3. Making it a regular part of conversation
Rather than just having feedback be “something you do once a year at performance review time” or “provide during employee engagement surveys”, building a feedback culture means that it becomes part of how everyone communicates. Talking about what’s working, and what’s not is common-place and the norm.
Part of making it a part of every day conversation is also noticing what the reaction is to things not going right and failures. Shifting from a mindset of crisis to experimentation can support a culture where learning from mistakes is healthy, not something to be frowned upon.
In addition to these three factors, other things that will support a feedback-rich culture include providing all staff (not just leaders) with training in providing feedback and also enhancing their awareness around their strengths, triggers and blindspots. A feedback culture is created when feedback is rewarded and part of the expectations of how teams and professionals operate.
While there are still a few more posts dedicated to the Foundations of Feedback I hope that you have enjoyed this series and found it useful! Please email me your comments or reach out and let me know how we can support you and your organization with training on feedback, enhanced coaching skills or strengths.
Have a great Wednesday,
Potentials Realized | Coaching Team Leaders
Team and Leadership Development | Coaching | Retreats.
Author of From One to Many: Best Practices for Team and Group Coaching (Jossey-Bass, 2013) and Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2009)
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