Fostering genuine, helpful feedback from your team
Feedback is an essential component of any team structure. As leaders, it is important to offer your team helpful feedback to improve workflow, processes, and behaviors. It is equally important to solicit feedback from your teammates to identify your strengths and opportunities for growth as a leader.
A recent Harvard Business Review article shares five hurdles you may face when gathering feedback from your team and how to tackle them to get the insights you need to grow as an organization:
- Clarifying you're open to feedback: In many cases, team members know they’ll receive feedback, but sometimes they’re unsure if they can provide feedback to their leaders. Be clear to your team and let them know that feedback is effective both ways and that it keeps all accountable for professional improvement.
- Brushing up on how to give feedback: Giving feedback is a learned skill, one that requires development and practice. It is imperative to give yourself and your team a welcoming environment to access training, resources, and specific examples on how to appropriately give feedback.
- Promoting an open line of communication: Some team members may be hesitant when giving honest feedback to their managers and may be anxious over an unfavorable response. It’s important as a leader that you demonstrate compassion and understanding when encouraging team members to share feedback.
- Taking the lead on constructive feedback: Any feedback – especially negative feedback – when delivered wrong can be discouraging. Your team members may worry about hurting your feelings or impacting your professional relationship. It is crucial you reassure them, as a manager, that they have nothing to worry about and that feedback is essential.
- Igniting action: Remind your team that feedback both ways will result in positive change; however, it may take some time but, in the end, it is still critical. Reassure your team that their feedback will help you in planning for the future.
Strong leaders develop and encourage an environment where open feedback is a common practice. As leaders and managers, it’s our job to constantly improve and find ways to advocate for our employees and strengthen our organization.