10 LIES ABOUT WORK/Lie Nr. 4 – People need feedback.

I am 100% sure that everyone of you at least 1 time per year give a feedback at work (either to evaluate someone’s performance in the same team or to evaluate someone from another team ).  A feedback is actually not something wrong at all, I don’t what to say that, but it should be given as something more like an opinion and not as a standard rule for people to improve their work. Or even worst, a feedback must not be a criteria for evaluation of someone’s performance at work or elsewhere.

But unfortunately in a lot of organization there is this bullshit called Target Agreement or A Yearly Evaluation of an employee, which is usually done by the team leader. Such criteria of evaluate somebody based on feedback must be completely eliminated. It’s not objective and It’s not important neither. People need Feedback??? Absolutely NOT. People need ATTENTION.

A feedback is just an opinion for someone which is taken at the moment of discussing about a certain topic, it’s doesn’t matter if it’s a negative feedback or it’s a positive feedback. But when someone pay attention to your actions that means something totally different. If you draw attention on you with something, this means you do a thing that people will surely need in the near future, and if they already look at you, and they like what you do, you may be advised to keep going and do better stuff. And for sure you will grow on long term. Instead a feedback is just a short impression given on a specific moment and soon after, doesn’t matter at all. Based only on feedback you will never grow and improve anything. About the difference between “giving feedback” and “paying attention“, I’ll be talking next.

It goes without question that feedback for each and every one of us at work is a good thing, and that more feedback is an even better thing. As a result, today we are blessed with different types of feedback, such as:

  • upward feedback,
  • downward feedback,
  • peer feedback,
  • 360-degree feedback,
  • performance feedback,
  • developmental feedback,
  • constructive feedback,
  • solicited feedback,
  • unsolicited feedback,
  • anonymous feedback,

And with all of these flavors and variants has emerged a cottage industry of classes to teach us both how to give this feedback and how to receive it with grace and equanimity. We seem certain that modern employees need, and indeed cannot but benefit from, a real-time, straight-up assessment of their performance, and an appraisal of where they stand in relation to their peers. Indeed, of all the things we “know for sure”, this is the one we know for surest. If there is any complaint in all this, at least on the evidence of recent innovations in HR technology, it’s that this feedback doesn’t happen nearly enough, so coming soon to a phone near you is an array of tools designed to enable you and your company to generate feedback at any time, on any person, about any and all aspects of his or her performance.

You, as the team leader, will be told that one of the most important and tricky parts of your job is to convey this feedback to your people, no matter how negative the reviews might be. Your job is to accelerate team performance, and it’ll be your responsibility to hold a mirror up to the performance of your people so they can see themselves as they really are, and see their performance as it truly is. This, you’ll be told, is the secret to both success and respect as a team leader – so much so, in fact, that this sort of direct, dear, unvarnished feedback has its own special name at work: it’s called candid feedback. I find it great to give such feedback in the 8 simple steps as follows:

  1. INTRODUCE the conversation.
  2. STATE your motive.
  3. DESCRIBE the behaviour“I’ve noticed”.
  4. STATE the impact of the behaviour.
  5. ASK the other person for his/her perception of the situation – Both people talk.
  6. MAKE a suggestion or request – If s/he knew another way to do it, S/he would do it that way.
  7. BUILD an agreement on next steps.
  8. SAY “Thank you”.

And this in turn means that you need to maintain a certain distance, lest you lose your objectivity and compromise your candor. Although you may sometimes wonder if people would give more and grow more if you showed that you genuinely cared about them, the refrain you’ll hear is that if you get too close to your team members you’ll never be able to give them the candid feedback they need. To aid your development as a leader, others will recommend to you the many books on how to have tough conversations, and will suggest you read from the growing pile of articles describing just how much Generation Y and millennials crave constant corrective feedback. You’ll be taught phrases such as, “Is now a good time for me to give you some feedback?” And, “Would you care for some feedback?” And the slightly more assertive, “I have some feedback for you. Are you sitting down?” Having learned how to give feedback, you’ll also learn how to receive it through techniques such as mirroring (“Did I hear you say that I need to work on my ‘organizational savvy and politics’?”) and active listening (“Can you clarify what you mean by “hopelessly naive” and give me a couple of recent examples?”).

And of course, should you reject the feedback you receive from someone else because it feels odd, or confusing, or just plain wrong, you’ll be helped to understand that this feeling is just a natural reaction to threat, and that to grow as a person and as a leader you will need to “let go of your ego,” to “embrace your failures” and to always maintain a “growth mindset.” If you can re-frame all this feedback as valuable input to help you grow, then – you’ll be told – you’ll soon find yourself addicted to it. Seeing such enthusiasm for feedback, we might start to wonder what an entire company would look and feel like if everyone was giving everyone else reviews at every turn – if feedback were pervasive and continuous?.

A good alternative to this situation is to build such a company around a commitment to “radical transparency.” This means that, the way to be successful is to see and engage with the world as it truly is, no matter how positive or negative these realities are. No hierarchy or office politics should prevent anyone, no matter their level in the company, from challenging an assumption or interrogating a course of action. The real world is right there: it is what it is. We must face it with all of our intelligence unfettered, and we can’t allow our politeness or our fear of repercussion to prevent us from seeing what is there to be seen, and thereby changing it for the better. Of course, people are part of this real world, and they too must be seen for who they really are, without filter, without delay. But for that, not only every meeting must be videotaped, archived, and made available for every person in the company to view in the company’s “Transparency Library” (radical transparency is total and without irony), but also each employee must be issued with an iPad loaded with a variety of apps for rating his or her fellow employees on a lot of attributes, such as “willingness to touch the nerve,” conceptual thinking,” and “reliability.” Employees are expected to rate their peers after calls, meetings, and daily interactions, and all the resultant ratings are analyzed, permanently stored, and then displayed on a card that each employee carries with him or her at all times.

Don’t try to impress with your fake superiority, be honest and speak to the point.

People leave teams, not companies. Therefore it’s a general established consensus that people need feedback, and that the best companies and the most effective team leaders must figure out how to give it to them. In part, this consensus is a perfectly reasonable reaction to the absurd in frequency of traditional performance reviews. Because companies report their financial results annually, we have all become used to altering people’s compensation annually, and since many companies came to espouse “pay for performance,” it was inevitable that goals would be set annually, and performance reviews conducted annually, and therefore feedback given annually.This cadence, though it worked for the financial folks, made little sense for either team leaders or members. Leaders felt burdened by the need to put everything into one set of goals at the beginning of the year and one set of laborious reviews at the end, while team members simply felt ignored. No one was served by this annual infrequency, yet there wasn’t much to be done about it – if we hated filling out one long set of forms at the beginning and the end of the year, nothing would be gained by upping the frequency of the form filling.

The single most powerful predictor of both team performance and team engagement is the sense that “I have the chance to use my strengths every day at work.” Now, we tend to think of “performance” and “development” as two separate things, as though development or growth is something that exists outside of the present-day work. But development means nothing more than doing our work a little better each day, so increasing performance and creating growth are the same thing. A focus on strengths increases performance. Therefore, a focus on strengths is what creates growth. The best team leaders seem to know this. They reject the idea that the most important focus of their time is people’s shortcomings, realizing instead that, in the real world, each person’s strengths are in fact her areas of greatest opportunity for learning and growth; and that consequently, time and attention devoted to contributing to these strengths intelligently will yield exponential return now and in the future.

Some of these leaders know this instinctively – or perhaps they’ve figured it out from their experience with real humans on their teams – but for the rest of us there is a wealth of biological data to reinforce the truth that positive attention accelerates development.Of course, we can all learn to do it right, or at least, righter. We can all learn to be slightly better at skills that we apply ourselves to with disciplined practice. However, what the brain science also reveals is that while the brain does continue to grow throughout life, each brain grows differently. Because of your genetic inheritance and the oddities of your early childhood environment, your brain’s wiring is utterly unique – no one has ever had a brain wired just like yours, and given the brain’s complexity, no one ever will.

Negative feedback doesn’t enable learning. It systematically inhibits it and is, neurologically speaking, how to create impairment. On the other side, positive, future-focused attention gives your brain access to more regions of itself and thus sets you up for greater learning. We’re often told that the key to learning is to get out of our comfort zones, but this finding gives the lie to that particular chestnut – take us out of our comfort zones and our brains stop paying attention to anything other than surviving the experience. It’s clear that we learn most in our comfort zone, because that’s our strengths zone, where our neural pathways are most concentrated. It’s where we’re most open to possibility, and it’s where we are most creative and insightful.

If you want your people to learn more, pay attention to what’s working for them right now, and then build on that. The question is, how? How can you stimulate learning and growth within your team, steer clear of the negative feedback that sets your people back, and still ensure that your team is running smoothly and efficiently? There’s one thing you can start to do immediately: get into the conscious habit of looking for what’s going well for each of your team members. The pull to look at the negative is a very strong one.The nature of your attention is key. If a team member screws something up, of course you have to deal with it. But remember that when you do, you’re merely remediating – and that remediating what’s wrong, so a mistake won’t happen again, moves you no closer to creating excellent performance.

If a nurse gives someone the wrong medication, ignoring that mistake could be lethal. So you can, of course, say to him, “Don’t ever do that again!” And you can, of course, design a process to ensure that the medicine is always triple-checked before being administered to a patient. But as you do this, know that if the nurse now consistently gives the correct medication to his patients, this does not mean he’s now giving excellent care leading to a faster and more complete recovery. Correcting the nurse’s mistake won’t lead to this, any more than correcting someone’s grammar will lead to her writing a beautiful poem, or telling someone the correct punchline to a joke will make this person funny. Excellence is not the opposite of failure: we can never create excellent performances by only fixing poor ones. Mistake fixing is just a tool to prevent failure.To conjure excellence from your team requires a different focus for your attention. If you see somebody doing something that really works, stopping them and replaying it to them isn’t only a high-priority interrupt, it is arguably your highest-priority interrupt. Get into this habit and you’ll be far more likely to lead a high-performing team.

All that being said, however, there will inevitably come a day when, despite your best intentions and careful highlight flagging, one of your people will implore you to give him negative feedback or corrective action. Tell me what I’m doing wrong, he’ll say. Or he’ll say that he finds himself stuck in the middle of a difficult situation, or is struggling with his job and is turning to you for advice on how to move forward. What do you do? To begin with, try to resist the powerful temptation to jump in with your very best advice.* (*And the irony that I am here advising you not to give advice has not escaped me)

So that’s why I say feedback is not necessary, instead paying attention as a enormous effect.Stop doing those extremely subjective employee evaluation each year, which are always based on some sort of feedbacks absolutely irrelevant. Giving a feedback and conclude on the performance of someone only on that, and creating some new targets for the next evaluation also based on the previous feedback it won’t bring you any added-value. Almost all such target agreements have no real metrics as criteria for evaluation so it won’t motivate your employee at all. He will not learn anything, on the contrary he will be worried not to reach the target for the next evaluation and he will immediately start thinking to find another job. This is very inefficient human resources management.If you want to improve and grow your business then pay attention and give recognition to your employee. Just STOP GIVING FEEDBACK to your coworkers.

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