A culture of feedback sounds simple enough, right? In reality, it takes a delicate balance to create one, and if implemented thoughtfully, the returns are limitless for any manager’s team.
In The Mintable’s latest Power Hour, we explored the “do’s” and “definitely do not’s” for managers when it comes to creating a powerful culture of feedback.
Read on for the highlight reel.
The best feedback model
We might have led you astray with this heading – there are actually tons of feedback models out there, many of which are equally effective. From SBI (situation, behavior, impact) to non-violent communication or radical candor – the most robust feedback models have some essential key elements, namely being:
The feedback describes what happened, when it happened and where it happened.
Locating specific points in time, in an exact location (i.e. the board room yesterday, or the meeting with the client at their office on Tuesday) helps take the direct report to the precise moment, without any confusion.
The feedback is designed to inspire action by asking the report to disrupt or reinforce a behavior.
Judgements are impossible to take action on. The direct report needs to know whether they must stop doing something, adjust a behavior, or continue a behavior. For example: telling your direct report they were “too intense” or that they were “not a team player” doesn’t help anyone; they’ll leave that conversation feeling judged and unsure of how to proceed, and you will have destroyed the trust you’ve built with them.
The feedback must be connected to a shared goal or expectation. The impact of the behavior is explicitly stated. Help them understand why it is important to you, to them, and to the business that they continue or adjust their behavior.
How managers can build a healthy feedback culture
As corny as it sounds, at The Mintablee our philosophy is that feedback really is a gift. Just like a present you’ve been yearning for, something you didn’t even know you wanted but now you can’t live without, or an ugly pair of socks from your grandma – most of the timeit’s given with good intentions. Giving and taking it in that spirit goes a long way to creating a healthy culture of feedback.
Craft your own practical feedback philosophy (your mission statement on feedback) by asking yourself:
- Why is feedback important to you?
- How and when do you solicit feedback?
- Whose feedback matters most to you personally and professionally?
- How will you respond to feedback you don’t like/want?
Once this is done, you’ll be in a self-aware space to take the next step on your feedback journey and will have an anchor for the tough moments.
Introduce the topic to your team
The term “feedback culture” might not immediately feel familiar to your team of direct reports. Make sure you take the time to formally introduce the concept by setting a team meeting agenda following the flow of these questions:
- What are the characteristics of effective, quality feedback?
- What is your personal feedback philosophy?
- Why is it important to you and the team to get this right?
- What happens next?
Address the baggage
It’s likely your direct reports probably already have some feelings about “feedback” and they may not all be positive. To unpack this baggage and mitigate against it, air the dirty laundry by asking the following questions:
- How do you feel when someone says “I have feedback for you”?
- Why do you think it feels this way?
- What methods of peer to peer feedback work well for you?
Lead by example
It stands to reason that direct reports understand and feel confident when they see you modeling the behavior you request of them. Especially when, from time to time, it might be necessary to give negative feedback.
- Understand your relationship with feedback
- Practice strategic praise
- Solicit feedback from your team and stakeholders
- Tie feedback to clear expectations
- Create feedback rituals that embed feedback as a predictable and standard part of your process of work
Feedback rituals should allow for and encourage feedback between you and your direct reports, between the whole team and you, or between individual members of your team (with or without your presence).
Don’t do this:
- Avoid soliciting and/or giving feedback until review season
- Be all talk and no walk
- Get defensive when receiving feedback
- Portray yourself as infallible
- Give feedback based in judgment or implicit expectations
And remember: feedback powers growth. Learn how to make the most of its gifts!
A huge thank you to our Mintable Managers who joined us for the session. If you’re a Mintable customer and would like to watch the full recording of the session, head over to The Mintable platform. And if you missed our previous manager Power Hours (even if you’re not a Mintable Manager) you can catch up here:
- Get prepared for performance reviews
- Effective employee offboarding
- Nail your 1:1s
- Build psych safety and trust
Power Hours are included in all AdvanceMint memberships, you can see our Q2 schedule here. And if you’d like more in-depth training on giving feedback, our Manager Foundation training accelerator offers detailed examples of types of feedback rituals and how to implement them.
If you’re an HR or People pro looking to get your managers in on Power Hours – give our team a shout and learn more about our offerings to get started.