Five pillars in a healthy feedback culture

Trust

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Why trust?

By trust we mean the team members’ confidence in their colleagues having the best intentions and that there is no reason to protect yourself or be careful in relation to the group. In other words, trust works as a foundation in a culture where we can share authentic feedback with each other because we trust each other and we trust that we will act in the best interest of each other. We believe you can and should actively work on building and maintaining trust within a culture.  A high level of trust is a necessity in order for a team and company to work efficient and create the best solutions, while people thrive at the same time.

How can you specifically work with trust?

Unlike conventional thinking, one of the key ingredients in building trust is how you become confidential in showing vulnerability towards each other. The behavior, as indicated below, is therefore an important component of what you need to do to build trust towards your team members.

  • Admit when you are wrong and do not be afraid to admit weaknesses.
  • Ask for feedback- when it comes to tasks but also when it comes to teamwork.
  • Give people the benefit of the doubt before you draw a negative conclusion.
  • Understanding each others personality profiles and communication preferences.

Questions for further reflection

– As a leader or employee, how do you work with building or maintaining the trust at your workplace and in your team?

Why Curiosity?

Curiosity and in particular social curiosity (the curiosity about ourselves and of other people), is a significant factor in a healthy feedback culture because it is a factor which drives us to examine, understand and develop each other. People who exhibit social curiosity are better than non-socially curious people at dealing with conflicts among colleagues and they are more effective at building trusting relationships and commitment within their team. We know you can actively create a culture that feeds the curiosity, and believe in particular that social curiosity is import to cultivate in a healthy feedback culture. Curiosity is one of the major keys to continuous learning.

How can you specifically work with curiosity?

  • Start with understanding and being curious when it comes to yourself. Meditation is a great way to practice the understanding of your own thought patterns and emotions.
  • Make it a virtue to understand the pre-conditions instead of immediately judging the actions – understand why the person acted in a specific way before you judge them.
  • Compliment people when they ask questions – during processes, tasks, cooperation etc.

Questions for further reflection

  • Are you yourself good at practicing your own curiosity when it comes to other people?
  • At your workplace are you good at cultivating a culture where you are curious of each other?

Curiosity

Appreciative environment

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Why an appreciative environment?

A healthy feedback culture embraces both the praising and criticizing interactions with each other. Criticism is a prerequisite for improvement and development but it has to be brought forward in an environment where there is an overweight of positive and praising interactions. A study showed how high performing teams had 5,6 positive interactions for every negative interaction, while medium performing teams had a 2-for-1 ratio, and low performing teams had a 0,4-to-1 ratio. Therefore it is extremely important we work away from a culture where we mainly pinpoint flaws and mistakes, but instead work towards a culture where we first and foremost authentically praise and appreciate each other for good work and qualities.

How can you specifically work with appreciative environment?

  • In order not to let the complimentary words go unnoticed, you need to practice – set yourself a goal to daily compliment your colleagues for something you genuinely think of them.
  • Use tools such as personality profiles to get a better understanding of each other’s individual strengths.
  • Complaining and slander is destructive for a culture that wants positivism and recognition to be the main focus. Explain to your colleague how it affects the culture negatively when complaining and slandering occurs.

Questions for further reflection

  • Do you only go to your colleagues when you have corrections or problems you want them to solve for you?
  • Do you show appreciation for your colleagues when they have done something good, and in what way?

Why competencies & structure?

In order to give and receive relevant feedback, it is necessary to know what it is we as organization, team and individual are striving to achieve. If we do not have a clear idea on what direction we want to go, it can be hard to receive and ask for specific feedback on projects, teamwork, tasks, initiatives and the like. Everyone can provide some kind of feedback, but it is an art form to keep it relevant in context of the organization, team or the individual. Therefore, it is important to actively work with goals and goal setting, while also communicating the goals and direction clearly.

How can you specifically work with competencies & structure?

  • Use simple tools such as the ”3-step model” to structure the feedback you give to others
    (Step 1: What have I observed? Step 2: What impact did it have? Step 3: What is the desired behavior for the future?)
  • Train your abilities to receive feedback – for example do not try to counter argue, but receive with an open curious mindset, wanting to learn more.
  • Make feedback an everyday part of the daily life – for example as a meeting moderator, use a few minutes of the meeting to ask for feedback.

Questions for further reflection

  • Do you prioritize time and space for learning and development of each other?
  • Do you set aside time and resources in your organization to train your communicative skillsets, so you can raise the quality of your interactions even further? And do you prioritize stepping out of day-to-day operations and the pursuit of KPI’s, to ‘breathe’ and discuss the overall direction you are going in?

Competencies & structure

Why goals?

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In order to give and receive relevant feedback, it is necessary to know what it is we as organization, team and individual are striving to achieve. If we do not have a clear idea on what direction we want to go, it can be hard to receive and ask for specific feedback on projects, teamwork, tasks, initiatives and the like. Everyone can provide some kind of feedback, but it is an art form to keep it relevant in context of the organization, team or the individual. Therefore, it is important to actively work with goals and goal setting, while also communicating the goals and direction clearly.

How can you specifically work with goals?

  • Use performance goals (tangible and measurable goals) for the different levels in the organization. This type of goal can be useful in order to secure progress, especially in the short run.
  • Use learning goals (goals that are less tangible, which focus on human development) that are aligned with the individual’s natural interests in context of the organization. This type of goal appeal to the curiosity and the human desire for personal growth in the longer run.
  • Let the employees have some influence in the goal setting process.
  • Follow up on the goals. Make sure that the goals are used as a management tool to aid navigation.

Questions for further reflection

  • How do you work with goals and goal setting in your organization?
  • Do you use goal setting as a management tool for giving relevant feedback?