Creating a Healthy Feedback Culture

When was the last time you received feedback that created a positive change in your career? What precipitated that feedback? For feedback to work, someone has to be willing to provide it – and the receiver needs to be willing to consider and implement it.

Many leaders are actually more reluctant to provide tough feedback than to accept it themselves. No wonder so much feedback goes unprovided!

It’s true that giving feedback can be difficult, but it’s not actually that complicated. Quality feedback has these three elements: it’s timely, specific and constructive.

But feedback goes both ways. It requires a giver and a receiver for it to work. Even feedback that is appropriately given can fail to achieve its intended outcome. It’s easy to blame the receiver for not following through, but there’s usually a culture component that either enable or repels feedback from sticking.

If you’re a leader, you have an opportunity not only to provide quality feedback, but to help shape the culture of your team. Here are five ways your actions can create a healthy feedback culture.

Set Clear Expectations

Clear expectations are poor performance repellent! The clearer your expectations, the less often you’ll need to give corrective or clarifying feedback, and when you do, it’ll be much easier to be specific.

Give Feedback Often

The more often members of your team receive feedback, the more they’ll come to expect it. Feedback that is expected is always easier to receive than unexpected feedback.

Keep Feedback Brief

No one enjoys prolonged feedback sessions. Make it a point to keep your feedback short and concise.

Make Feedback Feel Safe

Sometimes the best feedback doesn’t even seem like feedback! It might be a “suggestion,” or “input.” Many times empathetic leaders ask for permission first. “Do you mind if I share a suggestion with you?” And most leaders know they should take care to give corrective feedback in private to maintain the receiver’s dignity.

Make Feedback Motivating

Feedback givers have a performance goal in mind, but feedback receivers have their own wants, needs and goals as well. The difference between good and great feedback is often the ability to include the receiver’s goals. Go the extra mile by demonstrating how doing the thing you suggest will make the receiver more likely to achieve his or her goals.

Does feedback have to be negative experience? Not with a healthy feedback culture! There will always be a need to make corrections and clarify expectations from time to time. But when a team trusts each other and commits to performing at a high level, feedback is a high performance accelerator.

This article is included in the Leadership-in-a-Box® program:

Giving Feedback

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