“True intuitive expertise is learned from prolonged experience with good feedback on mistakes.” ~ Daniel Kahneman
The experience of giving and receiving feedback at best is a wonderful and enlivening experience, and at its worst can de-motivate and drive wedges between managers and their reports.
As Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman said “People join companies but leave managers.”
So is it the sole responsibility of managers to look after feedback? This theme invites you as a leader to take a more global view of feedback by fundamentally re-framing why it is needed, how it is done, what might be the overall benefits, consequences which can arise and what is everyone going to do about it?
“Leaders cannot work in a vacuum. They may take on larger, seemingly more important roles in an organization, but this does not exclude them from asking for and using feedback. In fact, a leader arguably needs feedback more so than anyone else. It’s what helps a leader respond appropriately to events in pursuit of successful outcomes.” ~ Jack Canfield
Feedback Gone Wrong
A major Achilles heel of typical feedback is that it is only viewed as an interaction between a manager and an individual report or possibly a team. It’s often one-way traffic and an unpleasant experience for those receiving feedback. Reasons for this may arise from poor manager awareness, poor training, pressure, etc. but perhaps the most pernicious is patchiness in the quality and quantity of feedback.
Interpersonal feedback functions best as an integral component of an organisation’s overall multidimensional communications system. The intention is to establish an atmosphere where senior management elicits information, opinion and perceptions from their staff, acts on them and reports back on their actions.
6-Stage Process for Feedback
Jack Stahl’s (Revlon’s CEO) 6-stage process for feedback aligns organisational conversations and manager – report feedback.
|Individual & Organisational Feedback|
|Stage 1||Value the person/people|
|Stage 2||Identify personal/organisational challenges|
|Stage 3||Provide targeted meaningful feedback|
|Stage 4||Identify and agree areas for improvement/development|
|Stage 5||Identify and agree benefits and consequences of improvement options|
|Stage 6||Commit your support and reaffirm person/staffs effort and value|
Feedback is generally most effective when considered as part of staff engagement efforts as described by Gruman and Sacs in their research published in Human Resource management Review.
Setting the Tone
It’s vital for leaders to set the tone by encouraging an overall culture of open information exchange to develop (supported by robust and accessible HR & IT systems) making it possible to:
- Provide safe environments to build trust based on knowledge and rapport.
- Exchange authentic criticism and affirmative feedback
- Establish a cultural norm based on accepted feedback behaviours.
- Create feedback based on personal and organisational accountability
Steve Jobs says it all in his interview on managing people and the Apple ideas-based ethos.
He said, “ideas always beat hierarchy.”
Re-framing Our Perceptions
If we re-frame our perception of and intention for feedback to mean honest, authentic, empathic, creative, effective and productive conversation across an entire organisation then great things will follow.
Your Actions Today
- Does your organisation have a communication system aligned with interpersonal feedback practices?
- Do your reports get to provide feedback on you do you listen and do you act on it?
- On a scale of 1 to 10 (with 10 most effective) do you know how effective your feedback to reports actually is?
- Does your organisation act upon synthesised from all staff feedback?
Feedback Revolution: -From Water Cooler Conversations To Annual Reviews — HOW TO GIVE AND RECEIVE EFFECTIVE FEEDBACK – Peter McLaughlin
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