Creating a Feedback Culture

An organisation where positive and negative feedback is invited, listened to and accepted is a place where growth and development happens. Creating a culture within your team and wider company that allows individuals to provide feedback internally can have multiple benefits.

Creating a culture within your team and wider company that allows individuals to provide feedback internally can have multiple benefits.

  • Positive feedback can make people feel empowered, appreciated and supported to learn. According to a Gallup survey, fair, accurate and informal feedback delivered regularly can improve performance by 39%.
  • Creating an open environment in which employees are encouraged to give you feedback in return will generate greater trust between you and your team, and alert you to potential conflicts before they become a larger issue. A study by Forbes showed that leaders in the top 10% for giving feedback, saw team engagement scores average 77%.
  • Our errors offer brilliant opportunities for learning and growth. Feedback can help us to understand our mistakes better and therefore help to add value to our learning.
  • Being able to have difficult conversations with your team is an important skill and builds team engagement. Most employees prefer corrective feedback to praise and recognition. Interestingly, in a global study by the Harvard Business Review, 57% of respondents preferred corrective (negative/constructive) feedback, whilst only 43% preferred praise or recognition.

Suggestions to Create a Culture Change

Encourage employees to ask you for feedback

Make yourself available when employees seek critique and follow up after giving it. Responding to your employees promptly will motivate them to come back to you for advice when they need it. The most important part is to learn how to evaluate this both positively and constructively; delivering in a clear and helpful manner. This will ensure that it’s received well and taken into consideration.

Promote peer to peer feedback

Getting used to giving and receiving feedback from each other will help employees improve their interpersonal communication skills and build a greater sense of team spirit. Some employees may take on an informal mentorship role; helping them to develop their potential leadership skills by providing extra training on how to give effective, positive and constructive insights.

How to Deliver Corrective Feedback

The purpose of giving feedback should be to effect a behavioural change. Carefully considering how feedback is delivered and followed up will enable a greater impact.

Prepare As with any other important conversation, take time to prepare and consider what you would like to communicate, how this information is likely to be received, examples you can discuss and outcomes you would like to achieve. Identify what you want to change in advance and consider how to communicate that in specific terms.

Be specific and productive Explaining why something was good or bad, the impact of the behaviour/work/actions will allow others to understand specifically the behaviour you are encouraging or asking to change. Only feedback on what you see or hear and remain objective with your observations. Nurture the corrective behaviours, agree improvements or changes to replace the actions you would like to correct.

Identify and coach employees with fixed mindsets Employees with fixed mindsets will need extra coaching to overcome defensive tendencies. Consider one-on-one sessions where you can discuss their reactions to feedback, and a plan to overcome their inhibitions. When given and received effectively, feedback can be a powerful tool to not only improve professional skills, but also to motivate, increase productivity and raise the profile of your company’s work culture. However, as a manager you will not only need to adjust your mindset towards giving and receiving feedback, but also that of your employees. 

Set actionable next steps Outline the change that you would like to see so that the employee is clear on how they can improve; have them repeat the actions back to you to ensure that they have understood and you are both agree on what will happen next. Schedule a follow up meeting to review the actions that are set.

How to Receive Corrective Feedback

In a fast changing workplace, It’s also vital to be able to receive corrective  feedback.  To create a true culture of feedback as a manager, being able to receive critique from your team and peers will set a good example as to how one should respond effectively, especially in relation to corrective observations.

Ask for it and set the tone Become a role model for open communication by asking for more feedback. Creating an open environment in which employees feel comfortable reviewing your performance will help you improve your management skills and encourage them to view others insights with a different perspective. Although your teams may hesitate at first, if you persist it will pay off.

Accept the feedback gracefully and gratefully Your reaction to feedback will determine how comfortable and open your staff are to giving you feedback again in the future.

Listen properly, thank and acknowledge Thank your team for taking the time to let you know their observations. Listen without interruption as this will help to build trust. Ask questions to clarify if something is not clear, acknowledge what is true and request time to think, before taking any action. Agree a follow up conversation, make a change or simply agree to reflect. You may not agree, but it’s important to set the tone for your organisation/department.


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