By Alan Fairweather
How do you feel about feedback? Do you receive it from your manager; do you give feedback to your colleagues or friends?
We all feel different about feedback, because we are all different. Some people love it, others are okay with it, and others just hate it.
I’m sure that you have colleagues or people on your team who always want to know “how they’re doing”. They come and speak to you and show what they’re doing. ‘Is this okay, am I doing this right?’ They’re constantly looking for reassurance that they’re doing the right thing.
Then you’ll have others who never come and speak to you at all, and get most uncomfortable whether you’re giving them the good news or the bad.
Feedback is one of the Top 3 factors that motivate people at work. The majority of employees want to know when they’re doing well and when they could be doing better.
There are managers who are happy to receive feedback from their boss and resultantly are comfortable giving it to others, because they believe everyone feels the same way they do.
And of course, if you look at it the other way round; managers, who are less comfortable receiving feedback, tend to believe that their team feel the same way, and just don’t do it. The other danger is that, many managers don’t receive feedback from their boss and subconsciously feel, ‘Why should I give feedback to my guys when I don’t get it?’
Whether you receive feedback or not; whether you feel uncomfortable giving it or not – you still need to do it for your people. Just be aware that they’re all different individuals and they might react in different ways. Almost everyone wants feedback – how much, is just a matter of degree.
There are two types of feedback and a way of doing it.
This is what we call, Confirming Feedback; telling a team member that you support whatever you’ve seen them do or heard them say; it’s a compliment or a thank you. It’s about ‘catching people doing something right.’
Successful managers realise that almost everyone reacts positively to Confirming feedback. They feel better about themselves and they feel motivated to repeat the behavior.
There is a saying that says, ‘You get more of what you reward.’
If you tell someone that you like the way they have completed some aspect of their work, then you’ll find that they continue to do that work in the same way or probably even better.
Confirming feedback is worth a fortune to you in terms of motivating your team and achieving your goals and targets.
This is what we call, Productive Feedback on behaviour you’re not happy with. As you spend time with people, you’re going to hear and see things that may not ensure your outcomes.
Ask yourself, ‘Is this something that is going to stop me achieving my outcomes of a happy, motivated and engaged team who achieve their targets?’
If the answer is ‘no’ then you’re going to have to do something about it.
There are various things you can do:
- You can ignore the behavior you’re not happy about
- You can reprimand the person
- You can coach them.
Coaching is not a soft option; it’s about finding out the cause of poor performance or behavior and discussing with the other person about how to put it right. You tell the other person what you’re not happy with, listen to what they have to say and agree a way forward.
Whether you want to reinforce behavior - Confirming Feedback, or change unacceptable behavior – Productive Feedback, there are certain steps you need to follow to make it work.
You need to do it as soon as possible and in private. Tell them how you feel about their behavior not how the organisation or anyone else feels.
It’s important to focus on one thing at a time and don’t confuse the other person with a whole list of behaviors.
You need to be specific and get input from the other person. And most importantly; don’t leave them low!
If you get all of this right, you’ll have a highly motivated team who, increase customer satisfaction, boost sales and make a positive contribution to your business.