In this article we will focus on the health of feedback culture within teams and organisations, and particularly how it impacts on performance, as opposed to customer or client feedback processes.
If you are part of any meaningful team, at some point you will have received feedback about your impact on others, or your team’s output. We can probably all agree that it is terrific when this feedback is positive and it can be a sore moment when it addresses areas you need to improve. We all know that feedback is essential for growth, but receiving and giving feedback can be one of the most challenging experiences when part of a team. Training on feedback for everyone at all levels is also not common in many workplaces. In fact, feedback is often overlooked as one of the key factors holding back a team from high performance.
5 ways a healthy feedback culture affects performance
We suggest there are well worth you considering if you are involved in building a high performing team or organisation:
- First and foremost, the success of high performing teams is determined by their internal relationships. Invest your training budget into building your teams’ communication and soft skills, which directly impacts on the quality of their relationships, and continue to invest over time. All members of your teams must practise both giving and receiving feedback constructively, which will create a healthy and robust feedback culture that spurs them to improve and perform well, even on the ‘bad’ days.
When there is a lack of training, feedback may be avoided altogether and a vacuum develops. No feedback at all, or even insufficient feedback, risks communicating to an individual or team that their work, behaviour, or even they themselves, are not liked or good. It is all too easy to fill a vacuum with negative assumptions, leading to disengaged and demotivated teams. A healthy feedback culture leaves no vacuum, and individuals know how to both give and receive meaningful, actionable feedback.
When delivered well, feedback tells your teams and employees whether their performance has hit the mark and how closely. It also builds trust. Feedback is not just top down – it is vital for everyone, at every level of your organisation, to understand how their behaviour is impacting the performance of others. High performing teams and organisations need a continual process of constructive feedback baked into their operating systems.
Reducing feedback to categories of ‘good’ or ‘bad’ is not specific enough to help team members give or receive meaningful and actionable points. High quality ‘good’ feedback can be both positive and negative. For example, telling a colleague or employee that “you did well” or “that was sub-standard” is unlikely to guarantee repeated great performance or effectively avoid poor performance in future. It is much more impactful to acknowledge the action the person took, exactly why it was effective or not, the impact it had, and a goal for the future. However, this is just a framework and does not ensure that feedback is heard by the recipient, as we all have different preferences for receiving information, for example some of us need it written and others need an informal conversation. This is where behavioural psychology offers a powerful tool to help your teams understand each other’s motivations and intentions, so relationships function more smoothly, and goals get achieved faster.
Learning to receive feedback is just as important as learning to give it. Your goal needs to be training people to grow the skill of receiving feedback, as well as delivering it in a competent fashion. In high performing teams with a healthy feedback culture, members can receive feedback even when it is poorly delivered and off-point. Team members are also trained to understand how to behave constructively when communicating with other team members who are displaying stressed behaviour, which is where behavioural psychology can also powerfully assist work relationships.
From our experience, there are some simple solutions based on behavioural psychology which can have a massive impact in turning your feedback culture into a healthy one and positively affecting the performance of your teams and organisation as a whole.
How can C-me help?
A healthy feedback culture relies on all members of your team or organisation understanding the communication styles of one another. As mentioned above, some will prefer considered, written feedback in bullet points before a face-to-face conversation, in order to give them time to think and accurately understand what is being said. Others would prefer an informal conversation about how they experienced the project before any mention of what can be improved, because they place high value on connection through conversation.
There is no ‘right’ way to give feedback, but if a leader or manager imposes their own preferred style upon everyone else, their team performance is likely to suffer as members increasingly feel unheard, misunderstood, or undervalued, which can then affect motivation and performance. The same can happen between team members working on a project, for example, if neither is able to understand and ‘speak’ in the other’s behavioural preferences, or one dominates the other, it can often affect whether the team members feel valued by one-another, and whether they can work effectively together.
We see this situation occur all too regularly and often due to a simple lack of understanding of one-another within the team. C-me specialises in helping teams and whole organisations understand and speak in each other’s ‘language’ so they can be heard and collaborate effectively, to achieve their goals. We use psychometric profiling to gather data and reflect back to you how you, your team, and your entire organisation as a whole prefer to work and achieve your goals. This is key information to ensure feedback is personalised and constructive to the needs of the individual. On our C-me platform your teams can view each other’s preferred ways of working and preferences for what to do in a feedback situation, a meeting or project to get the best out of each another.
If you would like to find out more about how we can help you book a demo with our team.
In our next blog, we will look at what a healthy culture of feedback looks like with some suggestions on how to achieve it.
Written by C-me Research Team,