The dictionary defines feedback as a reaction to a process or activity, as well as the information obtained from such a reaction in order to evaluate results. I believe that feedback is more than this: it can be a gift, but for it to happen it is necessary to fit in the culture of the team you are a part of.
There are a lot of challenges when it comes to setting up our mindset, and I am going to tell a story about it. I remember what my mother used to say when I complained about my grandmother’s food in my childhood, like when I found a hair in it: “Vanessa, don’t complain about your grandmother’s food, she is going to be sad! Keep your opinion to yourself!”. It gave me a feeling that being honest about something you do not like, even with good intentions, was bad behavior.
I am sure this scenario doesn’t fit just me – this kind of behavior can discourage a lot of people from talking to others about improving points that could help them grow, and it can give the idea that feedback is connected to failure. For some people, it feels like you are exposing and admitting your weaknesses to others publicly. Therefore, we tend to see it as a “threat”. When we decide to go over a feedback with a Growth Mindset, we open doors to becoming better professionals. It can be an expansion of self-perception.
With the purpose of creating a culture, every time I take over a new team I start it with a training on the importance of using feedbacks as an improving tool. For this, I use 5 principles of Management 3.0:
- It keeps a person and a team going.
- It gives a feeling of belonging and purpose.
- It increases growth and happiness.
- It unlocks change and innovation.
- It prevents people and teams from being stuck and discouraged.
I also prepare people to put it into practice, explaining some tips and general guidelines for giving and receiving feedback. When doing so, I like to show them the most common mistakes:
- Stop listening or pretending to agree.
- Deny the validity of feedback.
- Hit the communicator, pointing out your mistakes.
- Justify or outsource.
- Dress up as a feedback teacher.
- Saying you are incompetent just because you received a criticism!
- Take it personally and resend it.
I find it important to reinforce what the correct behavior should be when receiving feedback:
- Disarm yourself;
- Maintain self-control;
- Process feedback;
- Recognize valid points;
- Do something.
In addition, I emphasize the importance of knowing how to give effective feedback. It is not possible for a leader to be around all of the time, and a self-organized team needs to know how to handle situations like these. It is important to teach them and talk about what not to do when giving feedback:
- Feedback that judges people, not their actions.
- “Psychoanalyze” the reasons behind the behavior.
- Inopportune moment.
- Give a flashback.
- Feedback very vague and superficial.
Later, I teach them the Feedback Wrap technique, which makes it a light, pleasurable, positive, and constructive experience. Here are the 5 elements that make it up:
I then explain the meaning of each element and show a practical example with the help of a participant, as follows:
Finally, I put on some background music and promote activities so each member can use Feedback Wrap with someone from the group. In this dynamic, I always work with three roles:
- Applicator: the person who is giving feedback
- Receiver: the person who is receiving feedback
- Evaluator: someone out of the context that will be evaluating the people using the 5 elements from FeedbackWrap and the Guidelines. At the end, the person in this role gives them their opinion for improvement.
My conclusion after using it for a while is that it allows us to encourage and prepare the people we work with for using feedback as a tool in the best way possible. We create a trust based environment, so everyone is responsible for the team’s improvement, reducing conflicts and making it a better place to work!
So let´s give a FeedbackWrap!
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