"You’re only as good as the people you’re surrounded with“
In the corporate world, you’re surrounded by your colleagues. And, you don’t need to be a savant to figure out that a good relationship with your colleagues is critical and pivotal for the smooth, effective and efficient operation of the entire taskforce.
Allow me an opportunity to take you back to your school days (pardon my digression, señor).
Do you remember the classes in which you were taught the basics of communication? Let me ask you this, what’s the last step that fulfills or rather, completes the entire circle of communication? Take a moment. Take some more if you need. If your answer was Feedback, congratulations. You either paid good attention or your ears were chafed listening to those lectures. Either way, let’s come back to feedback.
Any communication is incomplete, or better stated, ineffective without feedback. You never talk for yourself in public places, do you? I mean, whatever you speak about in public is precisely intended to achieve a specific goal. Maybe break the ice, establish goodwill, signify trust etc. You don’t blabber aimlessly at a public gathering or your workplace. So, whatever you speak carries a specific intention. And in order to verify whether or not that intention is fulfilled, you need feedback from your intended audience. It might be any form of feedback, verbal, a body language cue, gestures, expressions etc. Bottom line, in order to determine the effectiveness of your intentions of communication, you need feedback.
Here's some data for the geeks:
- A Gallup Study found that 67% employees, whose managers focused on their strengths, were fully engaged in their work. (Source: Gallup Study)
- 24% employees would consider leaving their job if their managers provide inadequate performance feedback, reveals a Globe News Wire Survey. (Source: Global News Wire Survey)
- According to Forbes, recognition is the main thing employees and workers say their managers could give them to inspire them to work better. (Source: Forbes)
Now that we know providing and receiving feedback is necessary, how should you establish a feedback mechanism at your workplace? Overwhelmed? Relax, and read on, we’ve got you covered.
Following are some tips on providing constructive feedback to your colleagues and team members, in a manner that helps relationship building:
1. Don’t beat around the bush, be direct
Neither do you have a heckload of time, nor do your colleagues. Be direct and specific, don’t wander around, or you might run yourself into a risk of misunderstanding. Be as exact as you desire the outcome of the feedback to be. If you feel it's too direct, realize that you might irk them for that short while. But, at the end of the day, your team and colleagues know with quite specificity, what they have to do next based on your feedback. You don’t want them to be uncertain, trying to figure things out themselves, or reaching out to others for clarification and validity thereby rendering the entire process time consuming and cumbersome. Don't miss the last point if you're still here. It's the one you would want to read dearly.
2. Appreciate more often
Us, as humans, are insanely quick in pointing out others mistakes and more than ready to criticize. But ironically, or humanly, if I may, we don’t appreciate much. Now, I’m not asking you to appreciate their faults and outright mistakes, but the point here is to appreciate them for trying as hard as they did to work for/with you. And especially, if they have done a great job. Such trivial things go a long way in building trust and eventually, a good relationship. Take a moment to appreciate your team and colleagues for working their hearts out, irrespective of the results. They’ll feel entitled and obliged to return one back to you and will work even harder.
3. If they deserve criticism, they deserve appraisal too
This is similar to the previous tip. People love organisations where they are respected and admired for what they do. And only that very kind of person will put their heart and soul into their work. And, as a matter of fact, they’ll even overlook a few shortcomings on your end that might have been a cause of concern otherwise, that could have resulted in unproductivity, stress or in worst cases, resignations.
4. Establish yourself as a great leader/colleague who cares
A leader is as good as her team. When a team loses, a great leader will take the responsibility for that. When a team wins, a great leader accredits the team for it. Win or loss, a leader always stands by his team. She would always have their backs. And that’s what, as aforesaid, makes people more happy and passionate to work with them. Being someone people look upto is indeed an exceptional feeling. And what did it take, you ask me? Feedback and appreciation.
5. Last, but the most important, make sure your feedback is constructive
Feedback is not about criticizing, it's how you convey areas of improvement in a manner that can be worked on. As mentioned above, we love to criticize and speak negatively of someone, and at times we happen to be too direct as we love to make someone feel that he/she doesn't deserve what he/she gets. And sure, there can't be only positive feedback, there has to be problems too. The only thing to be mindful of is how exactly to convey your opinion in a positive manner? Sounds counterintuitive? If yes, you've been doing it all wrong until now. So, walk up, tell them exactly what you feel and why you feel so. Help them think of solutions to overcome this and appreciate them a bit for listening to you patiently and that you don't doubt their potential, but simply disagree on a particular aspect in the best interest of the team. Show them that you believe in them to make amends and come with the best the next time around. Spend more time on explaining how they can make the amends and improve in the areas highlighted. Trust me, this is a million times better than plain criticism which is often taken personally.