The Art of Feedback
Updated: Sep 6
We have joked at our seminars that it is easy to accept feedback when it is positive. The trick is to be able to bring that same positive attitude to critical feedback.
Giving feedback in a way that can be effectively heard by the receiver is a true art. When you are leading people, it is an art that is essential to master.
The difficulty or ease of providing feedback often reflects the culture of an organization. In a culture where people are too nice or too critical, feedback can be difficult to give. If you are overly concerned about sparing your coworkers’ feelings or fear you will be verbally torn apart, sharing your thoughts becomes anxiety producing. When that happens valuable viewpoints can be lost.
Knowing how to deliver effective feedback has a myriad of benefits. It leads to increased well-being at work, improved performance, stronger relationships, improved collaboration and better decision-making for individuals and teams.
There are organizational benefits as well. It enhances trust across the organization which results in greater innovation and creativity.
Effective feedback helps create a safe space. When done well, teams learn that positive and negative feedback make them better. Team members feel supported and guided by one another. They are inspired to hold each other accountable resulting in stronger connections which help energize the team dynamic.
The effects of positive feedback are well established. According to Dr. Christine Porath of Georgetown’s University’s McDonough School of Business, high performing teams share nearly six times more positive feedback than average teams. Meanwhile, low-performing teams share nearly twice as much negative feedback as average teams.
Positive feedback makes team members feel valued, reduces power and status differences, and increases everybody’s sense of belonging leading to better overall performance.
As a leader, the goal is to achieve the cultural balance where employees are energized by positive feedback and appreciate critical feedback. There are a variety of practices that you can incorporate into your leadership style that can build this type of feedback culture.
Check out our next blog for some feedback tips.