Using Feedback to Improve Team Performance



Feedback to improve all our performances is a valuable organisation and life tool. We should grow a culture of receiving and giving feedback whenever we see opportunities for growth of individuals. The approach in which feedback is provided is one of the most important areas to make it most effective.

Feedback should be provided in the context of genuine interest in staff improvement and not for point-scoring or using “the stick” as punishment and should be sensitive to the person’s needs. Feedback should be specific (using the SBI technique could be useful here stating a the specific situation, the behaviour exhibited and the impact it caused) and it 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 and made regularly. When I was manager of a team recently, I would have a regular catch-up with individual team members every 1 to 2 weeks to understand how the team member was feeling, 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 looked at 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. 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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