For most of us, receiving feedback isn’t especially pleasant. We like to be praised when we do something right but loathe to be called out when we do something wrong. Sadly, a lot of workplace feedback plays into this dichotomy in the worst way possible: Many team leaders view feedback simply as a way to illuminate shortcomings, and their team members are understandably vexed by it.
Vexed enough, in fact, that some organizations have actually eliminated formal feedback processes altogether, viewing it as largely a waste of time and effort. I’m here to tell you that giving and receiving feedback is anything but a waste; it can actually be essential to a maintaining a culture of continuous improvement.
With that said, maybe the specific feedback structures we employ could stand to be improved and enhanced. Let me offer you a paradigm shift that may prove valuable.
New Ways to Think About Workplace Feedback
First, your intent matters. It’s important for leaders to understand their own motivation in providing feedback: Are they looking to make their employee feel bad? Are they trying to “fix” a defective team member? These are frankly bad reasons to give feedback.
Instead, I’d propose two positive motivators for feedback. One, you can administer feedback as a way of starting a dialogue and better understanding why an employee isn’t performing in a certain way. You can use feedback to breed empathy. And second, you can offer feedback with the intention of seeing your team member thrive. Remember, when the team member excels, it’s better for everyone in the organization.
Intent matters, and so does support. If you’re giving feedback to help team members do better, then it stands to reason that you’d also provide them an environment where they feel like they can grow and develop. That means, among other things, not penalizing people for failing… so long as they are willing to learn from their mistakes. Support your employees as they strive to do better, rather than berating them for making missteps.
These are just a couple of simple, yet potentially seismic paradigm shifts that can help you develop a more meaningful feedback structure in your workplace. I’d love to talk with you more about this, so feel free to reach out. Contact me at www.rickgoodman.com or call 888-267-6098.
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