Most leaders know the importance of giving feedback to their team but we’ve heard time and time again how hard that can actually be. One reason we’ve found for this is that the environment of an organization sometimes isn’t set up to support constructive feedback. If you want to use feedback to help others grow, change, and transform on your team, you need to set up a structure.
In this episode, we discuss tips for setting up a structure and environment that is conducive to giving and receiving feedback. We also share a few tips to help you build structural supports on your team to make feedback more effective. Enjoy!
How to Structure Feedback for Teams
When we are working with clients around creating the environment for feedback on a team, oftentimes we need to start by creating a familiarity with what feedback is and to understand the individual’s and team’s capacity for feedback, as well as to create an appetite for feedback in general. A sustainable feedback structure kind of goes in that order: familiarity, capacity, and appetite for feedback.
1. Don’t Store up Feedback
Well-done feedback creates better communication cadence on a team and promotes a healthy culture. We encourage people not to store up feedback because it often triggers a fear response from the person who’s receiving the feedback. We want people to be open to feedback, to be receptive, and to actually integrate the feedback. When feedback is stored up and given rarely, it can be interpreted as a threat and likely will not be received well.
How do we create the right kind of cultures or environments where feedback can happen?
2. Make it Conversational
Conversations with your team are happening all the time. One of the ideas that we introduce to leaders who are trying to create an environment for feedback is to think about all the little ways they can give productive observation to someone during the week. This is a way of giving feedback in a conversational manner which allows people to be more receptive.
When you’re coming alongside and getting an observation that can allow someone to respond or ask questions, that’s the kind of conversational feedback that will then create familiarity, a different capacity, and an appetite to receive feedback. Consider the following questions.
How do you set up an environment where feedback is conversational?
There is a red flag if there is a lot of ‘should’ in a team environment. ‘Should’ is an indicator of unsaid expectations. Is your team culture’s language filled with unsaid expectations or is it a dialogue about expectations? Oftentimes if we keep a Strengths-based approach in mind when giving feedback, we can start by having a conversation about expectations instead of storing up criticism.
How do you have a healthy conversation?
Think about the elements of a healthy conversation. You’re friendly, you’re respectful, you’re humble with each other. Someone is speaking while someone is listening, you take turns speaking. An attitude of healthy conversation can go a long way when giving feedback.
3. Understand Timing
Most people think of feedback when it comes to quarterly or annual performance reviews, but regular conversational feedback is actually more effective. It’s more critical to give your team adaptive response-based criticism or conversational feedback over time because small micro adaptations along the way can have the longest-lasting, most sustainable change. Additionally, understanding the professional timing and relational timing of feedback is critical for leaders. Consider the following questions.
What is the length of the relationship within a professional context?
Are you a new supervisor or a new leader? Is the person receiving feedback a new employee or a long-term one? Knowing someone for a matter of days or decades will influence the timing of feedback.
How long have you known the person that you’re giving feedback to and how long have they known you?
What is their relationship with your organization and with the team?
Relational timing is just as important as professional timing. Consider the relationship with the person your giving feedback to and think about the timing of the feedback around the relationship. Think about the kind of timing that may influence your tone of voice, your attitude, the way you approach that person, the types of details you want to share with them, and the types of goals you’ll set. Remember, there is a unique relationship between timing and organizational pressures and timing and family pressures.
Structuring Feedback for Your Team
One of the leaders that we’re working with told us he thinks feedback is the breakfast of champions. We believe feedback then is necessary for our survival and what the research says is that top performers eat breakfast every day. It’s the people that actually nourish their bodies and brains in the morning that are the ones who are successful. Giving and receiving feedback is meant to nourish our growth and expand our leadership capacity. For sustained growth, giving and receiving feedback is repeatedly practiced.
At Leadership Vision, we’re passionate about creating environments where feedback lands in a good way and promotes the health of teams and individuals. We want to help people understand the importance of giving feedback as well as creating the right environment where the feedback can be absorbed, aligned, and applied, and that comes through repetition and relationships.
Connect with Us
What does feedback look like on your team? How is feedback structured and how is it being received? What can be improved upon and how can we help? If you have questions about anything you heard in this episode, connect with us at email@example.com. We’d love to hear from you!
About The Leadership Vision Podcast
The Leadership Vision Podcast is a weekly show sharing our expertise in the discovery, practice, and implementation of a strengths-based approach to people, teams, and culture. We believe that knowing your Strengths is only the beginning. Our highest potential exists in the ongoing exploration of our talents. Subscribe to the Leadership Vision Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts.
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