You already know the ins and outs of how to give great feedback. The shift from managing projects or problems to managing people will be transformative for your team as they learn to lean into leadership and grow in their self-awareness of their unique strengths and how they can grow. And as they get consistent feedback from their team and their leaders, it’s easier to synthesize what is being said from an objective standpoint and apply it to the future. Suddenly, conversations with your boss aren’t anxiety inducers -they’re a vision caster!
But outside of using feedback to develop your team members, remember that feedback goes both ways. Asking for and embracing the feedback your team has for you is a critical part of improving your team’s input and outcomes. And since people are at the heart of what you do, it’s arguably one of the most important benefits too.
Let’s break down three areas where two-way feedback in the workplace will be critical this coming year:
Employees are looking for more remote positions.
The disruption that COVID-19 had on the way we work and communicate brought a lot of clarity to the workforce. For people who suddenly found themselves working at home, they maybe got clarity that they enjoy the work-life balance that cutting out their commute afforded them. Others realized they thrive better when they can collaborate in person. In 2021 and beyond, your team members and your potential employees are looking for opportunities to have a flexible work setup.
Where does feedback come in? Well, when you flip the office on its head, you get a ton of opportunities to figure out what is working and what isn’t - but you don’t always have the chance to stop by a team member’s desk and give them feedback in the moment.
Consistent one on one meetings are key to helping a flexible or hybrid work schedule flourish. Make it a point to meet regularly, either built-in as perhaps one day that your team knows everyone will be in the same place at the same time, or over zoom if you find yourself in different locations. Set an agenda, ask “how can I help?” and deliver timely, relevant feedback with an eye on how you can develop this team member. Not only will they appreciate you for your leadership and candidness, but they’ll also trust you more that feedback is for their growth.
It’s quite the opposite that team members with a flexible schedule put in less work than in-person employees - you’ll see that your employees thrive when given the option to prioritize their passions and what’s most important to them- in their work lives and their personal lives. The emphasis - as feedback is, too - is on better work. Better work naturally must mean “a care for people” focus then, too. As Hubspot’s Culture Code reminds us “results matter more than the hours we work.”
Professional development and coaching are two of the top reasons employees stay and two of the factors that lead them to choose a job in the first place.
A 2020 study from Growmotely revealed that the top three benefits employees want are healthcare, professional development, and coaching, coming in at 69%, 63%, and 54% respectively. The value of professional development and coaching for both organization and team members long-term can’t be understated. When your focus is on people, your output naturally grows and improves. Quality work doesn’t start with more paperwork or longer hours: it starts with having the right person with the skills, talent, and passion in the right role.
If you see a marketing team member who would be awesome at leading a section of their team in designing the monthly newsletter, delegate the task and let them take the reins! Good mentorship begins with communication: whether it’s a coffee chat or lunch every quarter or a time you build into your one on ones, take time to listen as your team member shares where they feel most excited and passionate about the work they get to do. That’s where you’ll find the best opportunities to give them great feedback, help them grow in their current spot, and equip them to go forward, faster.
Employees are looking for more meaning in their work - not just a paycheck.
Since the onset of COVID-19, work isn’t just work anymore. Especially true of younger generations, meaningful work is a top priority. And that doesn’t just have to mean it’s industry-based either - meaningful work could also incorporate a genuine connection with colleagues, feeling like your supervisor is approachable and caring, access to growth opportunities internally, and benefits that prioritize the well being of the team because you know that better work starts with people, not projects.
Feedback can be a huge part of that - your employees can let you know when they see a need for a shift in the way you do things, or you can share things with them that help them do their day to day jobs in the moment and things that impact their long term growth. Another way that work can become more meaningful is an emphasis on connection with others - personality assessments or team building around communication and working styles can be a great way to get to know the person behind the job - which ultimately impacts the way others see their job and how they are valued in the place they spend a majority of their time in.
These are just three big picture ways that feedback is a common thread that goes through nearly every aspect of your leadership and your processes, as well as your organization culture. Learning to infuse two-way feedback into your daily and weekly rhythms as new trends continue to emerge will help you and your team grow better together as you work to build an environment that fosters growth and development for every person on your team.
We’d love to hear from you! What’s one takeaway that has a practical outcome for you this week?
If you’d like to see Leadr in action to better understand how we center our work around feedback and communication through the one on one meeting, check out our blog or request a demo.