Whether you’re giving or receiving it, feedback can be a profoundly challenging task to navigate - but it can also be a transformative one. Effective results start with communication: what did we do well? What can we work on? What can you learn from this - and perhaps most importantly, what will you do differently next time?
That last question might be the most important because it goes straight to the heart of why feedback is important. It’s an open doorway to growth. If you are giving or receiving feedback without growth on either end, it’s time for a reset.
Here are five ways to cultivate a feedback culture that focuses on growth:
1. Incorporate feedback into your organizational values.
Feedback is one of the most critical catalysts to growth and change. As such, it’s essential that feedback is a foundational part of your culture and a starting place for every interaction - whether it’s one on one meetings, onboarding, team meetings, or staff meetings. Repeat the importance and value of feedback so your people take it with them as a core part of how they do their jobs. As a leader, make a habit of asking for feedback, you might be surprised how quickly others follow.
2. Put your words into action.
Learning to give good feedback is a habit. You might have to work at it until it becomes natural. Here at Leadr, we request feedback from team members after every meeting and presentation. This provides a safe space for people to share insights they might have glossed over previously. Thoughtfully sharing what you learned or what you have questions about will lead to better discussion and deeper reflection, all key parts to good feedback.
Give it a try at your organization and see how trust and effectiveness soar.
3. Make your definition of feedback clear.
Some people will provide a word and some will provide a novel. Explicitly spell out what feedback should look like in your organization, so your team can succeed. It might help you to model it for your team as well. Things like immediately pointing out a highlight of something someone did well or transparently making space for intentional one on one time will communicate to your team exactly what you mean by feedback. This will also help empower them to lead as they learn from you.
As you work to define feedback to your team, remember, growth for every team member is the goal.
4. Keep it simple.
This is important because good feedback should be clear, easy to understand, and to the point - you want it to be impactful but not too long that someone stops listening or becomes confused. At Leadr, feedback consists of a few elements:
Be concise; write bullet points, not novels.
Be quick: spend thoughtful time but don’t spend hours.
Give feedback as you see it. For feedback to be effective, it must be timely. Discussing goals or performance a few times a year isn’t enough. It should be an ongoing conversation.
When providing feedback on a presentation or meeting, focus on the big ideas: what stood out, what did you learn, what did you disagree with, and what will you change.
5. Have a good attitude.
Giving feedback can be hard, and getting it can be even harder. Keep in mind that feedback should always point back to growth. So while it might be hard to hear in the moment, the intention behind it is to help your team grow, lead well, develop more, and increase job satisfaction, quality of work, and outward results. All good stuff.
As Douglas Stone writes in Thanks for the Feedback: The Art of Receiving Feedback Well, “seeing my own contribution to my circumstances makes me stronger, not weaker. If I contribute to my own problems, there are things I have the power to change.” That perspective shift is transformative to building a great feedback culture.
After reading this quick start guide to cultivating a feedback culture, what did you think? What steps can you start implementing this week? Let us know in the comments.
If you’d like to see Leadr in action or learn more about our love of feedback and how we champion the one-on-one meeting as a key part of that, request a demo, or read more on our blog.