Creating a high-performance environment requires cultivating a healthy feedback culture.
In this article we will explore how to build such a culture, plus some tips for making sure your team members feel supported when receiving or providing feedback.
If culture includes the attitudes, values, goals, and practices in a team or organisation, let us look at how these relate to the giving and receiving of feedback in a high performing team
There are some specific positive attitudes regarding feedback that can directly impact a team’s performance. For example:
the attitude that ‘feedback is valuable and not to be avoided’, leads to better team relationships and performance.
Another powerful attitude to feedback is to see it as a tool for encouragement and positive motivation, more than for poor performance. This is going to impact how feedback is viewed and received within your organisation. You want to build a positive and healthy culture where specific and meaningful feedback becomes a fuel to future performance, and not a hinderance.
Our attitudes emerge out of our values. There is one key value that a healthy culture of feedback needs when seeking to build a high performing team: it is vitally important that you foster a value for the potential of each person. Everyone has potential and feedback needs to reflect our value for the potential of each team member, even when it is addressing mistakes. High performance requires us to stretch ourselves. When people feel valued, they are more likely to stretch out of their comfort zones in order to grow. Feedback that emerges out of the opposite is going to motivate sub-standard performance.
Goals must be big enough to inspire growth. Here some examples of high performance goals for your feedback culture:
- Seek to be fearless about feedback. Training people in giving and receiving feedback and ensuring it reflects a value for each person is going to create a much more courageous and higher performing team, who are excellent at championing one another, both when addressing positive and poor performance.
- Seek to deliver it in each team member’s preferred style so that it can be understood, taking into account the personal needs of the person receiving it. Investing in your team’s communication soft skills is going to pay dividends in higher performance. Understanding behavioural preferences is a powerful tool to help your team tailor their communication and feedback. We will explore this further at the end of this article.
- Seek for feedback to exemplify agreed values of the team. Your culture emerges out of your values. Agreeing your values as a team and making it a goal to model them daily, such as in the way you all engage in feedback, is going to consciously grow the culture you desire.
- Seek to find the value in any feedback given to you, even when sub-optimally delivered. Feedback may not always be delivered in exactly our preferred styles. For example, perhaps we might prefer a casual conversation instead of a written email. Or perhaps the explained scenario is not entirely accurate. Even when not delivered exactly as we would like, seek to make it a goal to consider if there is any value in what is being offered, and check with others in case it points to one of our blind spots.
What does this look like in practice in a high performing team?
- Feedback is specific and timely, which avoids negative assumptions filling vacuums left. Feedback is part of the process of any project and is therefore expected.
- Aim to understand first before seeking to be understood. Active listening is practised. All parties in the conversation are invited to first reflect back what they understand is being said before responding with thoughts. This is even achievable over email, perhaps consider summarising what is actually being said first, before responding.
- Individuals are given freedom to respond when feedback does not resonate, is not given with evidence, or lacks actionable suggestions. However, everyone is still encouraged to acknowledge their blind spots and check with others before totally rejecting points they think do not apply.
- Feedback is future focussed and related to a future oriented goal. Individuals are given space to envision what the goal would look like once achieved and take steps to make it happen.
- If feedback requires a change of habits or behaviour then there is a process for support and accountability to facilitate growth.
- Feedback is delivered in a way that communicates in the preferred style of the recipient, so it has the best chances of being understood. Everyone is equipped with training not just managers, ensuring peer-to-peer feedback is also delivered well. This is how behavioural psychology can speak powerfully into team relationships. Speak to us if you want to know more.
These are the specific factors that affect culture and what they look like in a high performing team with a healthy feedback culture. If you think your culture could do with a health check, speak to us. We are experts in team dynamics and the factors affecting high performance, using behavioural psychology. We address the soft skills that individuals, teams, and organisations need to build high performing teams. We use psychometric profiling to gather data and reflect back information on how you, your team, and your organisation as a whole prefer to work and achieve your goals. This is key information to ensure feedback is personalised and constructive for the needs of the individual and team dynamics. On our C-me Live platform your teams can view each other’s preferred ways of working to better understand what to do in a feedback situation, a meeting or project to get the best out of one another.
To find out more book a demo with our team.
Read more about great feedback practices in Douglas Stone and Sheila Heen’s book ‘Thanks for the Feedback: The Science and Art of Receiving Feedback Well’.
Written by C-me Research Team,