Every organization aims to:
But few manage to successfully do all three.
One obstacle is feedback - giving teams effective feedback on their work.
Team leaders that give frequent and effective feedback increase efficiency, productivity, and team harmony. It presents a clear expectation of performance.
After all, teams whose leaders frequently communicate with them are nearly 3x more engaged than those with leaders who don’t communicate as frequently.
However, giving feedback does not translate into barking orders on your team members and telling them their work is terrible. Forget team harmony, if this is how you start giving out feedback, you’d hardly have a team left to manage.
Effective feedback is an art that team leaders need to master. And that is exactly what we’ll discuss in this article today.
First things first, does effective feedback really improve team performance? Do we have numbers to back this claim?
Effective feedback equals more engaged, productive, and happier employees. It helps employees grow and improve.
According to Harvard Business Review, happier employees have an average of 31% higher productivity and 37% higher sales.
A Gallup study found that those answer yes to, “In the last seven days, I have received recognition or praise for doing good work” is responsible for a 10% to 20% difference in revenue and productivity.
And that’s not all.
69% of employees say they would work harder if they felt their efforts were being better recognized, while 78% employees said being recognized motivates them in their job.
Happier team members also save organizations a lot of dollar bills.
The American Psychological Association estimates that more than $500 billion is lost every year due to workplace stress.
Strong emotions, harsh words, expectations not set properly - tearing down your employees efforts is not the best way to manage teams. It is the epitome of ineffective feedback.
And as a team leader you need to learn the art of effective feedback if you want your team to succeed.
Effective feedback has 7 essential qualities:
As a team leader, you should schedule team performance reviews every month.
Effective feedback is one which relates to a specific goal. It needs to be concrete.
Team should receive feedback from you as close to the event as possible. No point giving them feedback months after a botched client meeting.
Personal digs are a big no-no. Team members are more receptive to feedback that focuses on their behavior, not their personality or personal characteristics.
As Leo Babauta rightly says, “Never criticize the person. Always criticize the actions.”
Understand that you can’t change what happened in the past. You can only better what happens in future. So make sure your feedback focuses on the actions your employees and team can take in future.
For your feedback to be effective you need to ensure your team has a goal, receives information related to the goal, and takes action to achieve it. Your feedback should be actionable in order to be effective.
Allow your team to participate in the feedback process and let them voice their concerns and reasons. Encourage them to share their personal problems, their feelings, and recognize their shortcomings related to the project you’re working on.
Uncomfortable annual meetings, or a quick discussion at the watercooler?
Which one do you prefer?
While most prefer to receive the latter type of feedback, team leaders need to be well versed in all the different types of employee feedback techniques to ensure they’re giving effective feedback.
So what are the different types of employee feedback?
Surveys. One on one talks between team members and managers. Scheduled and structured meetings to discuss team performance. Annual performance reviews. And so on.
Formal feedback is feedback given in a formal review setting through any of the above mentioned means.
Informal feedback, on the other hand, is often given in-the-moment.
So, for example, taking a quick coffee or lunch break with a team member and discussing the fine points of that day’s meeting. Or popping by a team member’s desk and talking to them. Or gathering the team around at the watercooler and having a quick discussion with them.
“Tom, thank you for letting me know you’re running behind schedule on this project. Since this is the third time this month you’ve missed your deadline, let’s discuss some time management strategies to ensure it doesn’t happen again.”
Constructive feedback helps team members achieve a positive outcome. It reinforces positive behavior and identifies areas where the employee can improve.
While negative feedback is important for an organization to ensure mistakes aren’t repeated, positive feedback is even more so. It boosts team morale and makes them feel that their contributions are valued. It also encourages team members to make more effort next time.
Some examples of positive feedback:
“Even though the outcome wasn’t what we wanted, I really appreciate you going the extra mile to complete the project on time. With a bit more time and effort, I believe we can win this next time.”
“Thank you for taking on this challenging project and doing such a great job on it. It wasn’t easy but you managed to break it down into several manageable tasks and ensured each task was completed in a timely manner.”
“Excellent work at the meeting today. Thank you all for coming to our meeting with well-researched ideas. I look forward to our next meeting.”
Try to add at least one positive point when giving feedback to teams. So don’t focus on just the negatives, emphasize the positives as well.
Giving feedback is essential.
We get it.
But what is the best way to give feedback to your team?
The best way to give feedback to your team members is using a mix of both informal and formal team updates.
As Milosz Krasinski, Managing Director at ChilliFruit, explains, “I give feedback to my team both formally and informally.
On an informal basis, I’ll offer employees guidance and feedback by email. For a more formal approach, I hold monthly reviews with each member of my team.
These are held privately by Zoom and follow the structure of the traditional employment review.”
“During weekly standups, we use the opportunity to address each team member’s task for the week, how they coped with tasks during the previous week, if they had any difficulties or they’d like to share it with their team,” shares Stefan Ateljevic, Founder of AhoyGaming. “It’s a great opportunity for everyone to stay in the loop, and get insights on each team member’s workload and day - it’s a transparent and open relationship we nurture in our team.”
Kristen Bolig, founder of SecurityNerd, believes that while feedback is important in any business, it’s especially crucial in remote environments. Remote workplaces already come with added hurdles towards communication and collaboration. Consistently providing team members with feedback is the only way to make sure that remote businesses maintain their vision.
“I provide feedback in multiple channels. I give my team quick bits of feedback on daily tasks via Slack. I also provide feedback on content by using the edit feature on Google Docs. These channels allow me to give real-time insights on projects and make sure that my team members stay on deadline,” explains Bolig.
If you’re tired of hopping on to different apps to coordinate review meetings with your team, you need Friday team management software at your company.
Friday integrates with several collaboration tools, like Google Calendar, Outlook, Asana, and Trello to make your work life organized and super easy. It allows you to hit goals consistently and efficiently.
You can also opt to receive a notification every day showing you which team meetings you’ve planned for the day.
It’s an all-in-one home for your most important tasks at work that keeps you on top of all team meetings and tasks you’ve set out to achieve.
Friday automates status updates, provides check-ins, and helps teams feel connected while avoiding another meeting.
Your team will have a solution that they love to use, while also integrating with your specific tech stack, including team communication, calendars, and project management tools.
Not only do happy employees deliver 20% more than unhappy employees, but a research article published in the Journal of Applied Behavioral Science showed that a positive workplace excels in a number of domains.
So to ensure your team is happy and performs well consistently, give them effective feedback regularly.