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News - 18.03.2021

Posted by Aisling Teillard

News - 18.03.2021

The Importance of Openness and Honesty in Feedback Practices

It’s astonishing how feedback – good or bad – can have such an extreme effect on us. Positive feedback has the ability to lift us up and steer us in the direction of success. While negative feedback can result in a loss of hope or traction with achieving our goals. In some extreme cases, a bad experience with receiving feedback can trigger feelings of self-doubt. These feelings can linger for years, even for the duration of an individual’s entire career.

That’s why it’s so important that we make sure our feedback practices are more than adequate for employees. Feedback shouldn’t be something that’s feared. It should be welcomed, seen as an opportunity to get valuable advice and coaching from experienced leaders.

For some, feedback is heavily associated with criticism and negative experiences. But how can we change the feedback process to make it less intimidating?

Why honesty is the best policy when it comes to feedback

Typically, the traditional feedback process consists of a manager assessing and delivering a performance review. This traditional method is very much one-sided. One person speaks and the other sits there and listens. The problem here lies within how feedback is delivered. A healthy feedback process should involve a two-way stream of communication. 

If there are issues with an individual’s performance, they shouldn’t be made to feel like a child who has misbehaved at school. The relationship between management and employees should be ‘coaching focused. You see, a coach is an experienced person who provides support and guidance for an individual. This support is in place to help the individual achieve a specific professional goal. A coach is someone who is helpful, someone you can trust. 

How to improve the feedback process with specific goal setting

In a ‘coaching focused feedback situation, the person being coached feels comfortable being transparent. When employees open up about their goals, their struggles, and their experiences, it becomes easier to offer them the right advice to help them progress. When you provide feedback, prioritise engaging this person in an ongoing conversation around their career. Help them set clearly defined goals. Let them know what work should be prioritised and what they should be focusing on. When discussing their progress in relation to reaching these goals, say what needs to be said in an encouraging and positive light.

Setting clearly defined goals can play a crucial role in our progress at work. When this becomes a part of the ongoing feedback conversation, there is no confusion over what we should be working towards. Everyone should be on the same page with short-term goals and overall organisational goals. That way, there’s no confusion around priorities. 

Goal-setting, when done right, can improve psychological safety and wellbeing. When you think about it, it’s easy to see how having a clear goal in mind can help drive an employee to succeed. When we’re given a specific and measurable goal, we can plan for how best to achieve it. A goal can give us a desire to achieve the end result. What’s more, when feedback relates directly to a goal, it’s easier to discuss the employees progress with achieving this goal. 

Taking the first steps towards open feedback 

The methods of providing feedback that many of us are familiar with are somewhat outdated. It’s time to move away from practices that can lead to an employee feeling isolated or worried. It’s your chance to make positive changes and provide employees with the tools, resources, and support they need to achieve goals. 

Remember that a negative experience with feedback can have a severe impact on our mental state and that in turn can impact our performance at work. When an employee is given a supportive place to progress, they can do truly great things for the companies they work for. 

Openness and honesty are vital aspects of a positive coaching relationship. Embrace an open dialogue, really listen to what people have to say. The benefits of receiving feedback can be just as useful as giving it. Let people feel as though they’re in a safe environment and you’ll get to see the very best of their abilities.

Just because you should aim to deliver a positive feedback experience doesn’t mean all feedback must be ‘positive’. You shouldn’t shy away from giving advice where there are obvious shortcomings. Feedback doesn’t have to be positive, negative or constructive, it just needs to be helpful, relevant, and delivered in a way that is enjoyable for the employee. 

A better feedback experience with Our Tandem

Our Tandem gives managers the tools they need to deliver feedback in a way that is convenient for them and their team. By allowing for a constant stream of conversation, it reassures team members that their leaders are accessible. You see, feedback is delivered frequently over time with Our Tandem. This means that it doesn’t have to be condensed into one performance review meeting. Our Tandem also includes coaching tips for the manager when doing a check-in, helping them to guide a constructive and meaningful conversation. When employees no longer have to anxiously anticipate a performance review meeting, they can focus on what really matters. Get in touch with Our Tandem today to book your free demo.

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