No they don’t. It’s exactly the opposite = People DON’T NEED FEEDBACK. This is again something worth to be discussed.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, for me it’s the same shit. 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. So to go more deep to the point, if you want to understand this and if you want to see what’s the difference between “giving feedback” and “paying attention“, just keep reading this post, I will explain my point of view more in details.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a millennial in possession of a job must be in want of feedback. Actually, not just millennials. 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,
- and 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.
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.
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.
And then technology came to the rescue, as it were. With the creation of app-enabled smartphones, the subsequent near ubiquity of these phones, and then their integration with corporate IT infrastructure, companies gained the ability to give every employee the power to launch a survey to anyone in the employee census file, and collect, aggregate, and report the results. Today we can get feedback from anyone, on anyone, at any time, quickly and easily. But while this might explain why we are now able to give constant feedback, it doesn’t help us understand why we would so desperately want to.
Let’s say that one of your colleagues is late for an important meeting. As you sit in mild annoyance waiting for him to arrive, you create a little story in your mind that explains his tardiness as a result of his disorganization and lack of prioritization, and his lack of concern for all the people he’s keeping waiting. This sort of interpretation of others’ actions is so commonplace that it would be unremarkable, except for the fact that it contains a kernel of reasoning that’s demonstrably flawed, and that nevertheless has a huge impact on how we design our organizations. What we’re doing, in creating our little story, is coming up with an explanation – an attribution,if you like – for our colleagues’ actions, and those explanations, when they concern the people around us, overwhelmingly ascribe others’ behavior to their innate abilities and personality, not to the external circumstances they find themselves in.
In this case, your colleague is late because of his innate disorganization, for example, not because a senior leader grabbed him in the hallway to ask a pressing question. This tendency of ours to skew our explanations of other’s behavior (particularly negative behavior) toward stories about who they are is called the Fundamental Attribution Error. Show us someone doing something that annoys us, or inconveniences us, and we’re instantly certain that it’s because there’s something wrong with that person.
And the “Fundamental Attribution Error” has a cousin. While our stories of others center on who they are, we are much more generous to ourselves in our interpretation of our own actions. When it comes to our self-attributions, we skew the other way, and over-ascribe our behavior to the external situation around us, to what’s happening to us. If we’re doing something that annoys someone else, then that person is annoyed only because he or she doesn’t understand the situation that’s forcing us to act that way. This tendency is called the Actor-Observer Bias, and it’s one of a number of human-reasoning biases that fall into a category called self-serving biases, because they serve to explain away our own actions in a way that props up our self-esteem.
These biases lead us to believe that your performance (whether good or bad) is due to who you are – your drive, or style, or effort, say which in turn leads us to the conclusion that if we want to get you to improve your performance we must give you feedback on who you are, so that you can increase your drive, refine your style, or redouble your efforts. To fix a performance problem we instinctively turn to giving you personal feedback, rather than looking at the external situation you were facing and addressing that. And by the way, if you think about it, much of the world of work is designed this way – it’s designed for Those Other People:
- who need to be told what to do (hence planning instead of intelligence),
- whose work needs aligning (hence goals over meaning and purpose),
- and whose weaknesses put us all at risk (hence the deficit thinking, instead of the focus on distinctive abilities).
One of the inconvenient truths about humans is that we have poor theories of others, and these theories lead us, among other things, to design our working world to remedy or to insulate against failings that we see in others but don’t see in ourselves. Add to this the wonky logic that since success is achieved only through hard work, and since giving negative feedback, receiving negative feedback, and fixing mistakes are all hard work, therefore negative feedback causes success, and you can begin to see why our faith in feedback, and specifically negative feedback, is so firmly rooted – why we “know for sure” that feedback is helpful and that our colleagues need it.
But this just ain’t so. Let’s go back to where we began, with millennials. The various books and articles argue that millennials crave feedback in part because they are addicted to social media, and to the dopamine hit of one more Facebook “like,” or one more Instagram “love.” So let’s interpret a little bit this behavior as the result of millennials’ need to always know how they are perceived by others and where they stand. So, according to this reading, you’re in big trouble as a manager if you aren’t constantly attending to how they’re doing and telling them how to do it better. But if we look more closely – if we look at which features have become more popular on the various social media platforms, and at the details of how users choose to interact with these platforms – a different picture begins to emerge.
Consider, for example, the very different approaches taken by Facebook and Snapchat to providing for user feedback. A couple of years ago Facebook had been researching additional response emojis beyond the classic “like.” After much experimentation (and constant reassurances to its users that the company wasn’t going to launch a “dislike” button), Facebook announced the addition of six new emojis so that users could offer more-nuanced feedback to other user’s posts, the six finalists were: “love”,”haha”, “yay”, “wow”, “sad” and ” angry”
Yet soon after the launch, Facebook discovered that, despite the company’s careful research and testing, hardly anyone bothered with the new options. Snapchat, meanwhile, was growing, and then growing some more. Snapchat didn’t have six possible responses to a post – it didn’t even have one, in fact, because there was no Snapchat “like” button, and there isn’t to this day. Its appeal was precisely that on this new platform no one would rate you. The user just posts a story, or sends a friend a snap message; the friend responds or doesn’t; and then poof! – in 24 hours the story or snap is gone, permanently. If you talk to heavy users of Snapchat – and there are now over 200 million of them – you’ll discover that what’s attractive about Snapchat to millennials is precisely that they can go there, post there, and share there, all without feeling the pressure of feedback. They see the size of their audience. They keep their snap streaks alive with their friends.
But they never have to worry about feedback at all: there is no judgment, let alone any permanent record of judgment. Instead there is just the connection to a friend or an audience. For all of Snapchat’s early users this was a relief. Snapchat became one of the precious few places in their lives where they were free to be themselves and connect with each other without filters. The very absence of permanent feedback allowed them to be more casual, more at ease, and more real, and this safe, attentive place attracted them in the millions.
It is extraordinarily difficult to start a social-media platform and have it grow organically-users are busy and have established behavior patterns, and the power of the network effect to prevent those behaviors from changing is strong. Ning, Path, and latterly MySpace were all launched (in the case of MySpace. relaunched) with great fanfare, and all faltered because they didn’t tap into the essence of human nature purely and powerfully enough. Snapchat‘s chances of success were arguably slim, and yet, because it found an important missing ingredient in young people’s lives (a safe place filled with an admiring audience), it was able to find a path to exponential user growth. And then Facebook and Instagram, to their credit, got curious, listened and learned, and did whatever they could to make themselves more like Snapchat.
If the Snapchat example is any guide, it would seem that at root, social media is more about publishing – about positive self-presentation. It matters less to us whether this “self” is truly us, or whether, as many have observed, our online selves are aspirational projections, than it matters to us that others see us, and like us. We aren’t looking for feedback. We’re looking for an AUDIENCE, and all of us-not just millennials- seem drawn to places that provide us with a way to meet our audience and gain its approval. What we want from social media is not really feedback. It’s attention, and the lesson from the last decade is that social media is an attention economy – some users seeking it, some supplying it – not a feedback economy. And ironically, while the design of today’s social-media platforms reflects the fact that millennials are attracted most to environments without feedback, today’s companies point to these very same social-media platforms as their primary evidence for why millennials crave feedback.
The Snapchat growth story is only the most recent addition to a large body of evidence about the human need for uncritical attention. More recently, epidemiologists, psychometricians, and statisticians have shown that by far the best predictor of heart disease, depression, and suicide is loneliness – if you deprive us of the attention of others, we wither. The truth, then, is that people need attention-and when you give it to us in a safe and nonjudgmental environment, we will come and stay and play and work.
But it’s a bit more complicated than that, as it turns out, because feedback – even negative feedback – is still attention. And it’s possible to quantify the impact of negative attention, if you will, versus positive attention, versus no attention at all, and thereby better understand what sort of attention we most want at work.
In their ongoing study of engagement in the workplace, researchers at the Gallup Organization asked a representative sample of American workers whether their managers paid most attention to their strengths, to their weaknesses, or to neither, and they then asked a series of follow-up questions to measure how engaged each of these employees was. They then calculated the ratio of highly engaged employees to highly disengaged employees for each type of “attention.”
Their first finding told them, in effect, how to design the World’s Worst Manager.
To create pervasive disengagement, ignore your people. If you pay them no attention whatsoever-no positive feedback; no negative feedback; nothing – your team’s engagement will plummet, so much so that for every one engaged team member you will have twenty disengaged team members.
The second finding might, on its face, look like a pretty encouraging outcome. They found that negative feedback is forty times more effective, as a team leadership approach, than ignoring people.
For those employees whose leaders’ attention was focused on fixing their shortcomings, the ratio of engaged to disengaged was 2 to 1. But if we remember that “engagement” in this case is a precisely defined set of experiences that have been shown to lead to team performance; and if we recall that most of us have been taught that negative feedback is the best, and that most of us experience mainly negative feedback in our professional lives; and if we consider what the researchers found when they looked at positive attention, then this ratio of 2 to 1 becomes much more worrying.
The third finding was this: for those employees given mainly positive attention that is, attention to what they did best, and what was working most powerfully for them – the ratio of engaged to disengaged rose to 60 to 1.
Positive attention, in other words, is thirty times more powerful than negative attention in creating high performance on a team. So while we may occasionally have to help people get better at something that’s holding them back, if paying attention to what people can’t do is our default setting as team leaders, and if all our efforts are directed at giving and receiving negative feedback more often and more efficiently, then we’re leaving enormous potential on the table. As I said before people don’t need feedback. They need attention, and moreover, attention to what they do the best. And they become more engaged and therefore more productive when we give it to them.
So far, so good. We like positive attention, and it helps us do better work. But what about learning? If all we get is attention to our strengths, how will we ever develop? A team leader must surely want her team members to grow and get better, and won’t this necessitate that she spend most of her time pinpointing flaws and fixing them? Again, our informal theories of work-our “know for sure” theories – let us down. We seem to accept, on its face, the idea that “strengths” go at one end of the scale and “areas for improvement” or “areas of opportunity” go at the other, that areas of high performance are where we are most complete and areas of low performance are where we should, and can, grow.
PERFORMANCE AND DEVELOPMENT
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.
In the world of computing, there’s an event called a high-priority interrupt. It tells the computer’s processor that something requires its immediate attention, and so it needs to “interrupt” normal processing and jump the particular something to the head of the processing queue. In the real world of team leaders you’ll have quite a few things that function in the same way – that grab your attention and force you to act. The majority of these high-priority interrupts are going to be problems, and that’s normal.
You don’t want to administer medicine to a patient if it’s the wrong medicine. You don’t want to present something to your executive if you’ve just received information that half of what you’re presenting is now obsolete. Any system or process that breaks down will demand that you, the team leader, address it. This is a high-priority interrupt doing what it should do: stopping everything to seize your attention.
And the same high-priority interrupts will occur when one of your people messes up. You’ll see something someone does wrong – a poorly handled call, a missed meeting, a project gone awry – and the same instinct will kick in: stop everything to tell that person what he did wrong, and what he needs to do to fix it.
The difficulty for you here is that people aren’t processes, nor are they machines – what works for processes and machines doesn’t work for men and women. Processes and machines are finite and static, and unless we change something about them, they either stay the same or gradually wear out. People, by contrast, are in a constant state of learning and growing, and, as we just saw, they grow the most under positive attention and the least under negative feedback.
Paradoxically, then, the more your high-priority interrupts involve catching your people doing things wrong (so you can fix them), the less productive each person will become in the short term, and the less growth you’ll see from your team members in the long run. Finding itself in negative-criticism territory, the human brain stiffens, tenses, and – in meaningful ways – “resists improvement”. Machines and processes don’t do that. You can fix a machine, you can fix a process, but you can’t never fix a person in the same way – people aren’t toasters.
So, when it comes to your people, what should be your high-priority interrupt? If what you want is improvement, then it should be whenever someone on your team does something that really works. The goal is to consciously spend your days alert for those times when someone on your team does something so easily and effectively that it rocks you, just a little, and then to find a way of telling that person what you just saw. This sounds as easy as “catch people doing things right,” but as we’ll see, there’s a little more to it than that.
Nowadays, recognition has become a synonym for praise, but in doing so has moved some way from its origins. Thus, to recognize a person, in essence, means to come to know him anew. Recognition, in its deepest sense, is to spot something valuable in a person and then to ask her about it, in an ongoing effort to learn who she is when she is at her best. The trick to doing this is not just to tell the person how well she’s performed, or how good she is, While simple praise is by no means a bad thing, it captures a moment in the past rather than creating the possibility of more such moments in the future. Instead, what you’ll want to do is to tell the person what you experienced when that moment of excellence caught your attention – your instantaneous reaction to what worked.
For a team member, nothing is more believable, and thus more powerful, than your sharing what you saw from her and how it made you feel. Or what it made you think. Or what it caused you to realize. Or how and where you will now rely on her. These are your reactions, and when you share them with specificity and with detail, you aren’t judging her or rating her or fixing her. You are simply reflecting to her the unique “dent” she just made in the world, as seen through one person’s eyes-yours. And precisely because it isn’t a judgment or a rating, but is instead a simple reaction, it is authoritative and beyond question. It’s also humble: when someone says to you “I want to know where I stand” she doesn’t actually mean this, and you, frankly, are in no position to tell her-you are not the ultimate and definitive source of truth for where she stands. Instead, what she means is “I want to know where I stand with you.” And happily, here your truth is unimpeachable.
With each replaying of these small moments of excellence, relayed through the lens of your own experience, you’ll ease her into the rest-and-digest state of mind, her brain will become more receptive to new information and will make connections to other inputs found in other regions of her brain, and she will learn and grow and get better. It is, in short, the best recognition she could ever receive. You are learning about her, and relaying that learning to her, and, as on the best teams, she knows that tomorrow you will be doing so again. On such rituals is great performance built.
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.