From Dread to Development: Transforming Feedback into Engagement

Lisa Ryan Feedback GrategyIn the dynamic landscape of today’s business world, few phrases can send a shiver down your spine, like when a colleague approaches and utters those six dreaded words: “Can I give you some #feedback?” Let’s face it: Unsolicited feedback rarely feels like a gift. As a speaker, I feel the same dread when receiving feedback forms right after a program. Instead of looking at them, I let myself experience “speaker’s high, and then I look at them the next day. I appreciate feedback, as it helps me learn, grow, and improve my craft.

By revolutionizing how we approach workplace feedback, we can transform it into a catalyst for growth and #engagement. It begins with teaching employees the value of feedback and the art of requesting it. Doing so allows our teams to seek the support and guidance they need to excel in their roles.

Here are three compelling reasons why fostering a culture of requesting feedback is essential in today’s market:

  1. Cultivating reciprocity: When actively seeking feedback, you unlock a powerful force in your professional relationships. By extending an invitation for feedback, you create an environment where the other person feels comfortable reciprocating. This reciprocity leads to a deeper sense of partnership and #employeeengagement. Make it safe for the person to give feedback. In other words, listen with a “thank you for sharing” attitude. If you fight or try to justify the reasons for your actions, the other person won’t feel safe giving you feedback in the future.
  2. Setting the stage for growth: The beauty of requesting feedback lies in your ability to define the parameters of the conversation. You can navigate the discussion by initiating the feedback process to avoid triggering defensive instincts or fight-or-flight responses. This approach ensures that the focus remains on acquiring the specific insights and knowledge required for your personal and professional growth.
  3. Empowering confidence: When you actively seek the feedback you desire, you embark on a journey of self-improvement that fosters confidence in your abilities. This newfound assurance positively impacts not only your professional development but also your overall well-being.

As you can see, feedback holds immense value, as supported by research confirming its positive impact on #employeemotivation and engagement. According to Gallup, managers who provide frequent feedback increase the likelihood of their employees being motivated by 3.2 times and engaged at work by 2.7 times. Creating a feedback culture becomes essential, not only for individual growth but also for positive organizational outcomes. This culture thrives on psychological safety, enabling open dialogue, constructive criticism, and recognition of achievements.

However, a significant gap remains, with only a third of employees receiving the feedback they need to engage and improve. It is imperative for organizations to bridge this divide and prioritize the establishment of a robust feedback ecosystem, where feedback becomes an integral part of the organizational DNA. By embracing the potential of feedback, we can nurture a culture that fosters motivation, engagement, and growth for all.

Now that we’ve discussed the importance of requesting feedback, we can go into the practical aspect of approaching the process. Here are four tips to kickstart your journey:

Timing and environment matter: To ensure a productive atmosphere, you’ll want to schedule dedicated meetings with the individuals from whom you’d like feedback. By giving them a heads-up about the purpose of the meeting, you allow them time to reflect and provide more thoughtful insights. This approach leads to higher-quality feedback and demonstrates your respect for their valuable time.

Craft an agenda and document feedback: When requesting feedback, clarity is paramount. Clearly articulate the specific areas or aspects on which you seek input. Doing so facilitates #opencommunication and makes it easier for others to share their thoughts. During the meeting, take diligent notes, capturing the essence of the discussion. Finally, express #gratitude for their contribution, recognizing their time and effort invested in your growth.

Embrace action and change: Feedback without action is mere words lost in the wind. To honor the process and build trust, showing your commitment to applying the feedback you receive is very important. Act on the insights, make tangible improvements, and share the results with those who offered their guidance. By doing that, you can validate their contribution and reinforce the foundation for future feedback exchanges.

Foster a culture of ongoing feedback: Feedback should never be a one-off event but rather an ongoing journey of continuous improvement. Embrace feedback as a regular practice, integrating it into your daily work routine. Doing so creates an environment where adjustments can be made swiftly, enhancing productivity and growth. Furthermore, this commitment to reciprocal feedback can develop into mutually beneficial relationships, enabling individuals to support and learn from each other.

Asking for feedback is a powerful art that unlocks immense potential for self-development. By taking the first step and requesting feedback, you set a powerful example for others to follow. Encourage your team members to embrace this transformative practice and witness the growth and engagement that flourishes within your organization. You’ll embark on a journey of continuous improvement and create a culture where feedback is embraced as a catalyst for success.

LinkedIn originally published this in my “Cracking the Retention Code” Newsletter. Check it out and subscribe here:

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