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I have received a lot of feedback just today. An online purchase gave me an indication of how far I was in the process. My Kindle app used my reading speed to calculate how long it would take me to finish the book. My solicitor sent me a letter asking me to fill out a feedback form regarding a transaction they had just completed for me. Feedback is everywhere.
Managers prefer to fire or manage people who aren’t able to be ‘fixed’ by feedback. Many of your younger team members expect feedback more often than their older counterparts. It’s one of Millennial’s defining traits. However, I don’t like stereotyping a whole generation. She overlooks the best feedback methods for older team members. I guess they have to accept the change in management style from one that is feedback-heavy, even if it isn’t their thing.
It’s still a great read. The Feedback Imperative is a book that explains why talking leads to better results. It is a coaching model that shows how to give feedback to staff without annoying them.
Feedback: A definition
Anna Carroll writes that feedback is information from past actions that is used to guide future actions. “The movement from past to future information is called a feedback loop.” Anna Carroll continues, “The usefulness and utility of feedback are dependent on the accuracy of the information collected.”
Hence, why not give it?
Feedback can be difficult
I am not the best at giving feedback. It’s even more difficult in virtual teams because some messages are better when you’re face-to-face. Carroll’s observation that managers in all areas don’t give enough feedback is true. She cites several reasons for this.
We have lost sight of the value of feedback.
We are too busy
It’s not something we’re taught to do and it doesn’t come easily.
We are afraid to say something wrong and end up in court
We believe that our amazing employees are self-directed and take responsibility for their own learning so they don’t need it.
Carroll says that managers are reluctant to tell the truth to their employees.
I’d also add the unique role of project managers: As we don’t generally have line management responsibility over our team members, it doesn’t feel like it’s our responsibility to provide feedback.
How feedback can impact your project’s success
Carroll reports that more than 65% of people said that their performance review feedback contained unexpected findings. Surprises are bad, regardless of whether the review is done by you or their manager. Your sponsor wouldn’t be surprised because it would likely cause them panic. It happens to team members who get unexpected feedback at their appraisals: it upsets them.
Carroll states that this is part of the reason people leave their jobs. If you are at a critical stage in your project, then people leaving is not good. Your team doesn’t want to be left guessing if they are doing a great job. They want to know. She writes:
Managers must help employees make sense of and prioritize all information they receive and answer the burning question, “How am I doing at work and what can I do to improve?”
Get ready for every day feedback
This book is a large part of how to prepare for everyday feedback. It’s the kind of comment that you make to someone after a meeting, when they have presented well. This book is not about performance reviews and formal feedback sessions that are restricted by policies or processes. This is the type of feedback project managers should give their team frequently.
“Everyday feedback is more powerful than performance review, because you can tap into it.”