Struggling with feedback? We’ll help you do it better!

As a manager, I often find myself thinking about what makes work so interesting these days. With new trends appearing on almost a daily basis, the need to keep learning regularly to be great at what you do has become an intrinsic part of our lives. But that brings me to the question: Is learning, on its own enough? I mean, how do you know that you’re learning right if there’s no feedback about it?

One of the most important things I have learned with age is that being a good manager is no easy feat. Not only are we responsible for driving a team, it is also up to us to help employees develop their skills, motivate them, and create a positive environment at work as well. Quite the interesting challenge. Isn’t it? 

But if you think about it, you’ll realise that all of this stems from one simple thing: Feedback. 

 

Feedback for all 

 

When you think of feedback, a lot of us immediately think of the dreaded annual review that rears its head once a year just to ineffectively talk about your most recent successes or failures, your performance for the rest of the year rendering irrelevant. 

As continuous feedback makes its presence felt in the realm of Human Resources, the more we learn about it, the more we realise that apart from letting employees know how they’re performing, a good system can actually enable an organization to recognize what the employees are doing right, and what they aren’t, they can also make communication regular, seamless and flexible. 

 

How? 

 

  • The changing nature of feedback makes it more effective and efficient than older processes. 
  • Seamless communications help both employees and employers to share opinions, reviews and even prioritise tasks, as well as feedback and communication. 
  • Ease of use and simplicity encourages use as well as interaction allowing space for more collaborative efforts to come into play. 

 

More to feedback than you think

 

It was in 2009 that Mason OJ and Brady F conducted an experiment that showed us that people, when kept away from information, start exhibiting signs of anxiety that can easily be culled with easy access to the right kind of information. And feedback is no different. 

Without access to the right kind of information helping you address queries you or your employees might have about their performance at work, don’t be surprised if you suddenly see a dip in self-confidence, performance and even congeniality. 

As you can probably figure by now, there’s more to feedback than figuring out what your employees are doing right or wrong. With the right feedback system, you can also help your organization grow. And the wrong feedback system can actually make work rather stressful for you. 

 

Welcome to the idea of the Losada Ratio. 

 

Inspired by the research of John Gottman about marital studies, Marcial Losada decided to put it in action in the field of organizational psychology. By adopting Gottman’s coding methodology for business teams, Losada kept a close watch on a few teams of eight as they got busy developing business strategies. She noticed, that like Gottman’s studies, the ratio of positive communication to negative communication could actually predict how successful the team will be. The factors that were considered for this were profitability as well as evaluation from peers and managers. 

So to sum it up, the Losada ratio is the sum of the positivity in a system divided by the sum of its negativity. And the ideal ratio that corresponds to high performances are 3.0 to 6.0. 

Basically, without a fair share of positive and negative feedback, there’s not much one can do to improve employee performance or morale. 

 So do you know what to keep in mind when giving feedback to your team? 

  1. It’s important to give regular feedback 
  2. Keep in mind that only positive or only negative feedback can be detrimental for an employee’s performance 
  3. Don’t overwhelm them with a lot of feedback at a go 
  4. Have facts ready to support your statements 
  5. Don’t let your emotions blind you 
  6. Take the time to discuss feedback in detail 
  7. Don’t let indiscipline creep in
  8. Make sure the employee feels involved 
  9. Don’t hesitate to make suggestions for improvement 
  10. Remember to be SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, timely
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