Leaders and the Mediator for Team Conflicts
Giving feedback to team members feels risky. Sharing feedback with a manager or high-up can feel like a career limiting move. Consistently team members who take the Better Teams Assessment rate the team low on providing direct feedback to each other. I get it. I don’t like to share “constructive” feedback either unless two conditions exist.
So, when am I comfortable providing feedback to a colleague?
First, when someone asks for it. In my experience, most people who ask for it value it and have a growth mindset. Second, when there is mutual trust and respect.
How can leaders help teams to build trust and create a culture where healthy feedback is openly given and received?
I’ll use the ADKAR(™) model to walk you through ways to encourage and reinforce open feedback while establishing trust.
Is the team aware that you want them to give and receive feedback with each other? If not, this is where you need to begin. And just saying, “Let’s give each other more input” isn’t enough. What exactly does the feedback look or sound like, when and where does it happen, and how often is feedback shared?
Team members need to be crystal clear on your expectations of them and why you want them to do this. Be sure to explain your reasons and the benefits to all involved.
Does your team have the desire to give and receive more feedback with others? If you are certain they do - I mean they REALLY do - then go the next step.
If you find that some or all team members are resistant, it’s important to slow down and figure out what is holding them back. There will be some fear involved and possibly a lack of understanding of the benefits. Until this is resolved, it will be hard to move forward.
Does your team know how to give and receive healthy feedback? Here you will see what information or tools they need to understand and practice this skill. Perhaps there is a training session, a book club, or some other way to offer information, models, and best practices for giving and receiving feedback.
Does your team have the ability to give and receive feedback? Just because they go to a training on how to give feedback, doesn’t mean they have built the skills to do it well. Ability requires practice and coaching. It may take time to develop these skill sets in order to become proficient.
Are you reinforcing the behaviors you want to see? Think about how to recognize and reward team members for their efforts, even when they don’t do it perfectly. One manager with a team of 12 actually builds this into her review process. At every one on one meeting she asks her team members for examples of feedback they have given and received from another team member. This extra attention shows how much she values feedback and makes it a normal part of the work day.
If your team is not as good at giving and receiving feedback, you are not alone. Think about what is the reason for this on your team. Using the AKDAR(™) model you can break it down and figure out your next steps to encouraging and building the important skill set of healthy feedback.
About the Author: Leigh Ann Rodgers, Founder of Better Teams, Team Consultant Academy, and FORWARD, is an IAF Certified Professional Facilitator with 20 years of experience in the human development field. Leigh Ann is a skilled meeting facilitator, trainer, and coach working across the globe to help leaders cultivate teams that are happy and high-performing.
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