Using Feedback to Improve Team Performance
Using Feedback to Drive a Top Performing Team
There I was, feeling angry, dejected, lost and alone. How could anyone be so downright nasty and spiteful, saying that my skills weren't up to scratch and I needed to lift in order to be considered valuable to the company.
I reflect back on my early years in my professional career where feedback like this felt like a knife through the heart! The reality was that the leadership team actually wanted me to succeed, and these types of conversations were supposed to make me double down and reach deeper to increase my working performance (despite how brutalised I felt).
Using feedback to improve all our performances is a valuable tool, not just within the organisation, but can be an excellent life tool to make us all more balanced individuals. We should grow a culture of receiving and giving feedback whenever we see opportunities for growth of individuals, as many of us (me included) still have areas of our behaviour where we are unaware of how others perceive it and which may negatively impact on others.
One of the most important aspects, when considering giving feedback is the way in which we deliver the feedback in order to make it most effective for the recipient.
Feedback firstly should be given in the context of genuine interest to improve the recipient in some way. Using it for point-scoring or using “the stick” as punishment should be avoided with providing a sensitivity to the person’s needs.
Feedback should be specific, talking through a real-life situation that was experienced, the behaviour that was exhibited should be described and the impact to someone or something that it caused. The alternative behaviour that would have generated a better outcome could then be discussed which should be realistic (something which the staff member can achieve and according to their ways of doing things).
Communicating effectively based on individual staff member styles is an important consideration. The four types of communication styles need to be taken into consideration which are process, action, people and idea. Depending on the individual’s dominant style, they are likely to be more receptive on one style than another. Understanding your individual style and meeting the staff members style will make the communication more effective.
Effective communication processes include the setup of varied communication channels should be made regularly. Regular catch-ups with individual team members every 1 to 2 weeks is recommended to understand how the team member is feeling generally, if there were any immediate blockers to their progress, and address any issues or rumours flying around the office.
An open-door policy to staff also important, allowing team members to access assistance immediately in times of need, to try and address issues as soon as possible.
A regular team meeting with both local and remote workers every one to two weeks is also an important forum, to reiterate strategies, reinforce our goals, motivate with our organisational vision and acknowledge and reward good performance.
Participating in the company-wide town halls is also encouraged where the manager and the wider team can communicate what the team is working on and their achievements to the entire organisation.
Consultation processes need to be designed so that the team members can contribute to resolve issues related to their role and KPIs. As the team’s manager, you need to develop trust with each team member to allow open and honest conversation, getting to the root of issues without fear of punishment. Staff need to feel empowered in order to perform their role effectively, with support from the manager. Feedback should be provided in a non-judgemental approach, and ideally allowing the staff member to come up with the best options in order to resolve issues (rather than a mentor approach of suggesting the best solution to the staff member).
The “GROW” method could be leveraged here, to determine first the Goal of what the staff member is trying to achieve, the Reality or current issue in play preventing the goal from being reached. Options are then discussed where the team member then decides the best Way-Forward. When using this method, the manager should be listening 80% of the time and using language (20% of the time) to support a good outcome but not force their own outcomes on the team member. The manager should be attentive, being mindful on what is being spoken, and aware of their own reactions. They should not be judgemental in any way and encourage the staff member to own the activities for a successful outcome.
Where there are disputes in the workplace, a robust process must be in place for effective and speedy resolutions.
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