Deal gracefully with situations as they arise and lead with facts and examples over opinion.
Many people feel that giving honest feedback is an extremely difficult thing to do, whether it is directed toward a colleague, manager, client or stakeholder.
“We usually avoid it in the hope that the need to talk will go away. But it rarely does,” says communication expert and Fixing Feedback author Georgia Murch, who coaches individuals on the best ways to create feedback cultures in organisations and how to have those tough but often necessary conversations.
It is very hard to be self-aware without helpful feedback from others. Issues worsen when people don’t receive enough information about their performance in an ongoing manner, and business leaders often wait for a formal performance review to pass on what they need to say.
If you want to create a feedback culture, follow these tips and you are on your way, according to Murch:
Nip it in the bud
Deal with situations as they arise. Having conversations early helps create a culture of accountability and ensures difficult situations are tackled before they get out of hand. Don’t wait for the performance review, the end of a project review or for an issue to occur multiple times. By that time it’s too late.
Be the example
Receive feedback as graciously as you would like other people to receive feedback from you. This sets the tone for professional relationships with your colleagues and the business as a whole.
Switch on your positive attitude
Did you know that if you give four times more positive feedback than constructive feedback, you can increase performance by nearly 40%? High-performing teams know this and they become good at letting each other know what they are doing well. Feedback doesn’t (and shouldn’t) have to be negative all the time.
Lead with facts over feelings
Facts are non-disputable, they cannot be argued and they are tangible pieces of information. When we offer real-life examples and reliable data people are able to understand why your opinions and feelings are relevant to the problem you have identified. In turn, expect your staff to offer the same and understand that opinions need to be backed up by facts.
Search for the ‘real truth’
This is a combination of what you know (your truth) and what your employees and colleagues know (their truth). When it’s possible to see the whole picture and all sides of a problem, you will be able to make the best decisions impartially.
Most importantly, never assume you are right all the time. Ensure you’re always open to both sides of the conversation to avoid making flawed decisions.