To tell or not tell: The challenge of giving feedback
All the organizations seek their way to make their processes more effective, and they are aware that to be successful they must work hand in hand with their collaborators. Feedback is a technique that involves closeness, active listening and support to achieve results and make workers grow professionally.
Feedback can be understood as an ongoing exercise to provide information about performance to collaborators in a professional context, based on the results over a certain period. This enables department heads to discuss qualities and positive aspects of their employees, as well as areas of improvement, even with the possibility of establishing short, reachable objectives to analyze the results in the next sessions.
Is feedback really productive?
Feedback becomes constructive when it is close and constant. With it, department heads bond with and learn to trust their collaborators, and go over areas of improvement, as a moment for support and thanking, more than a scolding or personal attack. This is one of the many challenges of giving feedback: moving from being the chief to a leader.
This coming-together eradicates the uncertainty that collaborators may feel on how their work is perceived, as well as a it leaves a pleasant perception for the employee, who feels visibilized by and to the department heads that reveal an authentic interest in their development. Hence, it is not unlikely that this technique creates higher motivation and commitment in personnel.
How can top management, department heads and supervisors give feedback?
The key factor is that they believe in feedback, in order to convey credibility to collaborators. Some tips that may prove practical are the following:
- Establishing scheduled spaces to look into specific topics
- Keeping a cool head and postponing the feedback session if feelings of anger may intervene in the session.
- Providing for a trust environment.
- Playful activities may help breaking the ice and perceiving the session as non-threatening.
- It is important to be empathetic and align the sessions with the company’s objectives.
- Establishing a design or method to evaluate the established goals for each employee.
- Although technology facilitates the exchange of information, ideally, feedback should happen face-to-face, since non-verbal language complements and shapes information
- Being clear and straightforward regarding room for improvement, giving the specifics and avoiding generalizations
- Part of the responsibilities of a leader is supporting the members of the team. Therefore, they should give suggestions of possible solutions and build together an action plan.
- It is fundamental to avoid aggressive language or comments personally directed to the feedback recipient because the emphasis is on modifying behaviors.
- Opening a space for the person to also give feedback to their manager. This will also contribute to knowing the employee better and identifying areas of improvement.
At the same time, this technique has a series of additional benefits and more successful results regarding:
- More and better company-employee bonding.
- Better employee performance.
- Increase in employee-productivity.
The main challenge companies have is giving department heads the space to give feedback and to follow up to observe the results.
Authors: Alejandra Segura y Marianela Sánchez