Let’s say that you’ve managed to launch your startup and get things going as an entrepreneur, or you work as a manager within an already established business. In both cases, giving and receiving feedback, to and from, the people you work with, is a crucial aspect of managing things effectively. Outside accepting employee feedback, there won’t be any potential for growth.
There are plenty of guides online about how to give feedback to your employees; but not so many addressing the feedback employees give their managers. Even when such guides exist, they focus mostly on how to give positive feedback to your manager, as an employee, in order to both get your point(s) across but not upset them. Well, the matter should be approached from the other end of the deal as well: as a manager, this is how to make the most from the employee feedback you receive from the people working under your coordination.
Forget These Harmful Ideas:
- Upward feedback is useful only on a therapeutic level, in order to make your subordinates feel like they have a say;
- Negative feedback on one’s manager can only come from employees who don’t do (or understand) their job properly, and thus use the feedback as an opportunity for venting or revenge;
- Subordinates only know their own limited field of action and therefore can’t possibly understand every aspect a manager needs to balance, making their feedback not very useful, even if well-intended.
3 Ways to Make Sure You Receive Authentic Feedback:
#1. Make Sure You Establish Trust Verbally.
Hold a meeting before the upward feedback session and encourage everyone to be as sincere as possible. Explain that the end goal is both your personal growth as a manager and the improvement of working conditions on the short term, as well.
#2. Automate the Procedure by Using Anonymous Forms of Feedback.
You can also make your employees feel safer about the entire idea by using an automated survey form or even the old fashioned pen and paper, but all under the cover of anonymity.
#3. Encourage Employees NOT to Be Afraid of Getting Specific (and thus Identifiable).
Again, this last piece of advice is about trust, in a slightly more advanced manner. Make sure everyone understands that the anonymity of employee feedback isn’t a feature created for their protection, because there are no consequences to be afraid of. Instead, the anonymity is added purely for their comfort, but the more specific they are willing to get, the better it will be in the future.
Make the Feedback Work Towards Your Growth:
- Fight the urge of getting defensive or to make up excuses, and accept the outcome of your management style on the work lives of your subordinates.
- Understand that each and every one of them is well-intended and/or justified, no matter how whiny or critical they may sound.
- Don’t change your overall management style, but learn to adapt it to the person and the context.
- After a few weeks, give a public report on the changes you’ve implemented based on the feedback you received. This way everyone will be encouraged to speak up even more next time.
Image source: here.