So in my past life before I began working where I am now, I managed a company where I had several supervisors underneath me that also managed several different groups of their own. Now I know that there are several courses, books, trainings and hell even a thousand other blogs that can help you fine tune your supervisorial skill and help you get on a better career path, but the topic that I want to cover is something that I have learned works for a lot of different facets of a company.
Feedback is probably one of the most underrated aspects of a company. Now I’m not saying that you don’t get feedback from your superiors, but I feel one of the greatest misbeliefs is that feedback only works one way. Feedback needs to come from both directions, not only should you get feedback from your supervisors but you should also be able to give feedback to them in return. As a supervisor if you can’t make it to where your team is unable to give feedback to you than that is definitely a problem. Open and honest feedback lets you know where you stand within your team’s trust level and creates a better overall atmosphere.
These are the seven steps that are believed to help keep an open dialog creating a better work environment and helping each other move in a good direction. Now just know, this is mostly meant for the people that you don’t have a personal relationship with. People that have a closer relationship tend to have a better dynamic when it comes to feedback.
- The person must be open
The worst thing you can do is try to give feedback to a person that is not open to the conversation. You might as well be talking to a brick wall, if you start to give feedback and you realize that the other person is not open to this, then just ask them if they are not open and if not tell them you will come back when they are. On the same note you need to be able to show people that you are open to feedback not matter who it is from or what it is.
- Needs to be given with Empathy
We’ve all had that one person that has tried to give feedback with the attitude of “I am the boss” and “I talk and you listen”. When this happens the first reaction is to either shut down or become defensive. We are all grown and we know the consequences of our actions. I know this sounds like a saying from your parents, but you need to treat people how you expect to be treated.
- Needs to be given in a timely manner
Speak to the person when it something happens, don’t wait until two weeks later or until you are more comfortable in a group setting. If you let something slide and then bring it up way later that it loses its importance and is less effective, the moment you hear or see something, pull the person aside and began the process right away.
- Something they can fix
If you are giving someone feedback than make sure it is something that they have to power to be able to fix, if you are wanting them to change something that they have no control over that the only thing that you are doing is setting them up for failure and the conversation will end up not going anywhere.
- Must be specific
This is probably one of the most frustrating ones for me, if someone walks in and says “Hey, you’re doing your job wrong” and then turns around and walks out, then that is a complete waste of time. Most work environments are busy and fast paced but you can’t expect an employee or your boss to try and work on something if you don’t tell them exactly what they need to work on. Try to give specific times and incidents if possible.
- Provide alternate solutions
Give them more than one way to help fix the issue, usually the magic
Usually the magic number is three. I have found that the more solutions you provide then the more chance for success in getting the situation resolved. This lets the try several different avenues that will likely feel more comfortable to them.
- Checked for accuracy within the group
This one is a little bit different than the normal one on one conversation that we were previously talking about. If someone comes and tells me that “Calvin I don’t like the way that you talk over all the group during meetings”, the best way to check yourself is to speak one on one with other people in the group. Maybe it’s just something you don’t realize you are doing and being able to follow up with other people will give you a better understanding of what it is you are doing wrong.
I know there are so many other aspects of what it takes to be able to have a smooth running work relationship. Don’t forget that this is a two-way street, not only should you receive feedback from your Supervisor but you should also be able to give feedback to your Supervisor as well. Not all feedback is going to be comfortable, and not all feedback needs to be negative but in order for a team to be able to work well together and have a great working dynamic then this is a great place to start.