True culture of feedback is about giving, not receiving

By April 20, 2017 No Comments

There is a lot of writing about feedback in the organisational culture, and it is fantastic that many companies are seeing its benefits and increasingly promote it as a part of their culture…

In its simplest form, Feedback is the process of telling somebody what we feel and think about something they did, or said. In the corporate world though it has to follow certain steps, or rules, or protocol to ensure the desired result. In this article we will look at the most basic mechanisms triggered by it.

Think about it. Could we say that the person we are right now, the approaches we take on things, our system of beliefs, and our opinions have to do with feedback, positive or negative that we received in the past? Is there a chance that who we in the work environment, but also in life is partly modelled, sculpted and defined by what somebody told us at some point? Chances are…

“You are a very empathic person”, “you are not good in organising your work”,  “your creativity is amazing!”,  “you could try harder…”, “focus!”, “you never deliver on time”, “good job!”… there is an endless list…

Giving or receiving?

Here is an interesting observation: When I touch this fascinating subject in work sessions, people instantly know what it is,  but frequently there is no prior reflection about it. When people are asked what they think about feedback, or if they find it useful, or they are ok with it, in my experience most of people automatically think about receiving it. But what about giving feedback?

Individual, or team mindset?

Wether receiving feedback works directly in the personal level of the person receiving it, giving feedback is personal too, but it rather works in the spirit of team, company and group level, why?

When I provide feedback to somebody, that means that besides caring about my work, I care about theirs, I have enough empathy to observe, analyse and think of improvements outside my own little parcel of personal action.  It means that my peripheral vision goes beyond what I do and how I do it, I perceive what is happening outside of me, and how it affects not only me, but the environment. That is challenging! It can’t happen if I don’t have have a team mentality and truly care about improving things around me. Giving feedback implies the understanding that a group of people interacting is actually a team, and that success, change, improvements depend on the team.

It means having the capacity to keep a team vision, and understand what success factors it needs to keep going. A truly champion attitude right? Of course if i’m the boss this is what is supposed to be (right?), If I`m the boss my take-for-granted authority entitles me to do so, isn’t that true? But when I provide proper feedback regardless hierarchy, among other things I am earning genuine authority, that of the one that can impact people around for the better.

Benefits are tremendous, both in the individual and team level. There are certain basic rules about feedback, though, and respecting them is crucial for success. By experience I personally think that there is no change management initiative, no sales optimization project, no jumping to the next level if this single element is not in place.

If this reading not inspiring enough to put you in motion and go deeper in instilling a feedback culture in your team or organization, I strongly recommend you learn more on how it works, what are the conditions it needs to succeed and prevail, and what is the right way to become a feedback champion.

If generosity is about giving, start being generous providing feedback to your team members, and have a blast on the process!