If You Don’t Like Feedback, You’ll Like a Disengaged Team Even Less
Are you a leader who gives regular feedback to the people on your team? I often ask the people I coach what, if anything, would help them in their job role. The answer I hear most is they would love to receive more feedback about how they are doing and how they could improve.
The Gift of Feedback
Researcher and author, Brene’ Brown said, “Mastery requires feedback. I don’t care what we’re trying to master—and whether we’re trying to develop greatness or proficiency—it always requires feedback.” This is true and causes one to wonder why many leaders don’t provide the feedback their teams so desperately desire? When I ask leaders why this is the case, their answers almost always fall into two areas – time and conflict.
Spending or Investing
When a leader tells me they don’t have the time to provide regular feedback to the people on their team, I quickly correct them to at least say it correctly. “I haven’t taken the time to provide feedback to the people on my team.” We all have the same amount of time; you just prioritized something else above feedback to your team. The truth I want to convey is that providing feedback is not a “spend” of time; it is an “investment” of time that will provide a solid return on investment (ROI) over time.
One of the most significant components of the ROI on feedback is increased employee engagement. Making progress and developing Mastery in pursuit of a worthy goal is one of the highest, if not the highest, attribute in highly engaged people.
Did That Make You Mad?
The second reason I hear often is that providing constructive feedback versus a positive affirmation of their work can cause conflict, and most leaders don’t need more conflict in their day. If the constructive feedback you provide is a source of conflict, you may not be doing it right.
Here are three tips on how to provide feedback, positive and constructive, that will lead to higher engagement on your team.
- Develop a Feedback Mindset – if your mindset is to “correct” someone, or to “fix” someone, then conflict is a high percentage outcome. However, if your mindset is to help, show care, and help grow someone, you will see a much greater return on your investment.
- Develop a Culture of Feedback – by providing feedback on a regular basis and immediately after witnessing someone’s performance, you send a message that this is how we do things around here. We help each other grow and improve. By the way, that includes you too. As a leader, you can do a lot to establish a feedback culture by asking for feedback on your performance.
- Make Feedback a Conversation – when I provide feedback to someone, I like to tell them something I saw them do well, followed by something I thought they could do better, followed by the question, “What do you think?” By allowing the other person to speak into your assessment of the situation, you invite dialogue that can add to the value of the input you are providing. It opens the doors of learning for both the person you provided the feedback to and for you.
For your team to be highly engaged and the people of your team to be personally motivated, they need to know that what they do matters and that they are making progress in their ability to do their job. Having someone who cares about their growth and development and shows it by providing timely, constructive feedback will drive engagement to new levels.
Perry Holley is a coach and facilitator with the John Maxwell Company’s Corporate Solutions Group as well as a published author. He has a passion for developing others and seeing people grow into the leaders they were intended to become.