It’s necessary to provide feedback to everyone on your team. This team includes; your manager, colleagues on your level and direct reports. This feedback can be good or bad, but it’s a non-negotiable activity for high performing teams. By creating the proper environment, the hope is, someone will give you feedback as well. Being a leader means you must hear this feedback and apply it, if necessary. Continue reading for thoughts on creating an environment where true feedback is received.
Lead with love & trust. – Ruling with fear will discourage true feedback. How can a person or group fix a flaw or defect of character if they don’t know it exists? If people can’t tell you the truth because they are afraid of you, growth stagnates. The cultural environment of the company must be one where true accountability is appreciated and not penalized. When done correctly, respect is earned on both sides of the feedback. One person or group gives the feedback and another accepts it. No retribution. That process builds trust and over time, an unbreakable bond.
Remove “yes men”. Every organization has “yes men”. These individuals are full of selfish motives and will never go against the grain, especially if it may hamper their own promotion or career opportunities. They have no regard for the team and will often steal success away from the masses in an attempt to manipulate higher level decision makers. An environment that nurtures constructive feedback exposes “yes men” by default. A “yes man (or woman)” will be able to fool those above them some of the time, but will never fool those who work with them. Once exposed, remove them swiftly to minimize cultural damages. Good leaders surround themselves with smart people, but great leaders surround themselves with smart people who will vote against them.
Expect healthy conflict and normalize it. Creativity will flourish in this environment. With individuals holding each other accountable in a professional way, the overall goal, product or service will be completed at a much higher level. There are healthy disagreements on our team at least a few times a week behind closed doors. When those doors fly open, we are one team, with one mind and one message. A message that we all own, since it was crafted by us all in the most creative way possible.
Summary – You need constructive feedback. You need to create an environment that sustains it and you must be open to receiving it. It’s one time where receiving is more important than giving.