It’s important to remember that feedback isn’t criticism, and if we deliver it as only areas of opportunity, we’ll alienate our teams, discourage their productivity, and curb all creativity and energy. When momentum is rolling, we have to encourage progress and simply help our teams make sure they’ve uncovered all the options in their decision-making tree that may be masking the best possible solution.
Here’s another thing about feedback: there’s always something good in there, so don’t overlook it. Your team members need to feel a few wins, so don’t ever hesitate to draw attention to what’s working and why it’s spot on. Feedback is a way to share ideas that spark conversation so you can find a better result by thinking through the tough stuff as an aligned unit. Feedback is always a combination of what’s going well and what we can do to improve. It’s gotta be a little bit of both.
Finally, when you’re providing feedback, it’s important to share it in person – always. Never deliver it in an email. Ever. Unless you’re just gushing about a fantastic accomplishment and you want to take a moment to recognize success (which we should all definitely be doing), make sure feedback is given in person. Engage in dialogue. Talk about what’s working and what we can continue to improve upon together. Ask each other questions and show you’re coachable too. Recognize facial expressions, body language, and have a productive conversation about needs, goals, changes, and next steps.
When feedback becomes part of your regular routine and it takes a helpful and positive angle, you’ll see your teams start to crave it, not fear it. The more you embrace it yourself, the more apt your teams will be to engage positively and ask for feedback. If we all open ourselves up to being humble, honest, and eager to learn, we’ll be setting up for long-term success and growing the next generation of strong and positive leaders in our fields.