6 Tips to Get Honest Feedback from Employees to Boost an Organization’s Bottom Line

Improve Employee Engagement and Production with Quality Feedback

It’s 2017. Workplaces are more horizontal than they’ve ever been, and that’s why we are shocked and surprised by Mad Men and other period shows. We’re far beyond the “yes man” days. Right?

There are many things that might be holding employees back from giving critical feedback needed to improve production. And a big stumbling block to that might just be you and your management style. So it’s time to check your ego at the door and prepare for some honest feedback to go from good to great.

Let’s be honest. Sometimes feedback is less than pleasant. But there are some positive ways to make giving and receiving feedback positive in an organization. Here are 6 tips to get honest feedback from your team.

1. Ask: This seems too obvious. But have you asked? And this doesn’t mean in the vague, “How am I doing?” way. Be specific.

  • How can we make our team meetings more effective?
  • How do you best receive, and give, feedback? (Some might want a quick face-to-face check-in. Others might want e-mails. Nevertheless, always follow up a face-to-face with an e-mail to keep a written record.)
  • What can I do to make your job easier?
  • What could I have done better to support you in your last project?
  • What can I do next time to help you make your project more successful?

2. Listen: Now this is where many of us fail … every single day. Really listen. Don’t listen to reply. Just … listen. And don’t just listen to words, but pay close attention to non-verbal feedback. Is there tension in the room when you assign a new project? Be aware and recognize what’s being said and what’s not being said. This is a hard thing to do.

3. Say thank you: Feedback is an opportunity to learn and improve, not only as a manager, but an entire team’s production. Being gracious and truly grateful for the opportunity to grow is something we can all work on.

4. Give employees the benefit of the doubt: Instead of getting defensive, take a step back and try to understand where your employee is coming from. This is “assuming positive intent.” In a getlighthouse.com blog post, How You Can Get More Feedback From Your Team, here are some easy-to-follow steps to take after receiving feedback:
  • Thank your employee
  • Ask the employee to share a situation in which the feedback applies
  • Ask any questions to follow up this feedback
  • Ask how you can improve your role in the future.

5. Take action: It certainly doesn’t make any sense to get feedback and do nothing about it. Basically, by not changing, you’re showing your employees that their feedback doesn’t matter. So take action. This validates your employees and shows the team you’re listening and willing to improve.

6. Be a leader: Actions speak louder than words. Show your team how to give feedback – both positive and negative – by being a positive role model. Be approachable and teach the team how to listen by becoming a listener. Keep the team on task – discussing projects, not personality. Take responsibility for blunders. Discuss project failures with the team and how the next one can improve. By airing dirty laundry, it makes it easier to work together without fear. By doing this, you’re building habits, positive ones.

Being on the receiving end of criticism isn’t fun. But it’s always an opportunity to grow and improve. Lead by example and show your team that feedback isn’t something to be tucked away in the darkest corners of their minds, but something we can all share to improve … together.

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