Updated: May 23
With no gift receipt or a way to "regift", feedback might not always seem like the present it's branded as being. However, in the context of building stronger teams and cultures - based on authenticity and true psychological safety, it can turn from kryptonite to a powerful red cape. Here are some tips for healthier feedback at work.
Your culture club matters.
Even good feedback doesn't change a poor culture. Sure, it might help you think about how to navigate difficult situations but then we are just back to "surviving" versus "thriving" and who wants that long-term? All HR is local so to the extent you can create a safe zone within your own teams, even if it is an oasis, do it! Your team will thank you and feedback will mean a lot more.
Feedback is like protein for vitality.
On the vitality spectrum (none to very), feedback makes teams stronger and have a sense of vitality. To get there though means that psychological safety has to be a consistent and present priority with your team. One of the many reasons it’s so important to build and maintain a climate of psychological safety is to facilitate a much more organic system of giving and receiving feedback so that it doesn’t feel like an “event” that people need to imbue with more worry. A good analogy is the way an orchestra group might pause for a little longer on the strings part until it’s just right, and then proceed from there as they perfect the piece.
But it's not the same serving for every individual or team.
Psychological safety is a spectrum and depending on where you and/or your team is on that spectrum impacts both the frequency and impact of feedback. This is especially true in large matrixed organizations where there are so many interdependent teams and it’s understood that these are made up of a collection of closer or looser ties, depending on the organizational structure. Just acknowledging this can help keep Lex Luthor from turning a good thing like feedback into kryptonite.
The feedback hack.
Because the right brain circuits are essentially the “we circuits” - allowing for both creativity and more collaborative thinking, giving and receiving feedback when you’re already connected this way reinforces that it’s coming from a pure place. And don't forget humor - yes, even with difficult conversations - done the right way. Get to know how to activate these circuits (VitalConex can help) and hack your way to more authentic, and dare we say even more comfortable, conversations and connections.
Is feedback on feedback also feedback?
No need to turn feedback into a sequel to "Inception" (trust us on this one - a dream within a dream within a dream is hard enough to understand). Sure, you can incorporate feedback to and from each other specifically with respect to psychological safety, vitality, and right-brain thinking, but that might not feel that "safe" anymore, which defeats the whole purpose. The most important element is that it not be something that “feels” dictated and perfunctory. Following any dictate always goes much better among teams that are already right-brain connected. Focus on the skills and becoming more ensemble-like rather than measuring or judging every single thing.
The VITAL5 ROUNDUP– Don't let feedback be your kryptonite!
1. Know thy culture – culture will impact giving, receiving, and sustaining feedback
2. A feedback shake – the best "protein" for a vital team is feedback - it nurtures and strengthens growing teams.
3. Emphasis on the "feed" – where your team or organization is on the psychological safety spectrum should dictate how you feed feedback.
4. Hack away! – tap into the right brain, use some humor - it's the Robin to your Batman.
5. Beware of overdone feedback – prioritize what, where, and when for feedback, leave it, and then spend more time focusing on strengthening the team.
VitalConex is a connect-and-create company. To learn more about the "peanut butter cup" of successful teams, check us out at www.vitalconex.com