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Three Steps to a Culture of Feedback and Recognition: Part 1

We read and hear a great deal about organizations building a culture of feedback and it truly takes diligence and thought when you’re working to bake this into your everyday processes and systems. For managers and leaders, it can often be difficult to find the time to provide their teams with actionable feedback and recognition for a job well done. However, the reality is, recognition is a key driver of employee performance and 69% of employees say they’d work harder if they were better appreciated. Conclusion: building feedback into your culture means a more productive and engaged workforce.

A feedback-rich culture has to start from the top. If you’re a leader who isn’t one to give feedback and recognition on a regular cadence then it’s time to give some thought to building those muscles. A key role for a leader is to set up clear paths through which feedback and recognition is both given and received. In this blog series we’ll define three steps to help you on your journey to building a culture of feedback and recognition.

Step 1: Determine Your Barriers

Giving feedback and recognition is all about connecting the rational side of your brain that’s focused on logic, reason, and metrics with the emotional side of your brain that recognizes feeling, creativity, and passion. Finding the balance between the two is essential to giving actionable feedback and recognition that propels a team forward and cements the behaviors you’re looking for your team to display on a regular cadence. We encourage managers to first identify their barriers to giving feedback and praise to increase their self-awareness. Awareness is key when it comes to wiring the pathways in your brain and common barriers to giving feedback include:

  • Lack of time in the day. With all of the demands of functioning as a manager, time gets away from us and opportunities to provide feedback and praise are missed.
    Solution: Your regular rituals are a great place to start integrating feedback and recognition and this ensures a predictable cadence for you and your team. From 1:1s to retrospectives and even town halls, all are great forums for giving feedback and recognition. That said, when work gets really stressful or busy, these are often the first to go – and that’s a problem. It’s in those hectic moments where feedback and recognition are most important.
  • Lack of a habit. For some managers, giving feedback and praise doesn’t come naturally and these muscles need to be built.
    Solution: This is where your rituals are also important. When you’re dialed into a cadence with your rituals, it helps create the habit of acknowledging team members for their contributions. That said, if your rituals are on more of a drawn out cadence, you’ll need to think about scheduling intentional time for giving feedback and recognition during the week. A simple calendar appointment will do here, just be sure it doesn’t get dismissed when something that seems to be a bigger priority takes over.
  • Lack of confidence. Whether it’s giving feedback to your own team or members of another, giving feedback and praise can feel awkward or as if it doesn’t come from a genuine place.
    Solution: Just as you train for a marathon, practice helps build the feedback muscle. Share your hesitations with your manager or a peer and ask them to help you run through different role play scenarios in which you give feedback and recognition.

Building a culture of feedback and recognition doesn’t happen overnight, and much like all things related to employee engagement, it’s a journey. Armed with awareness of your barriers to giving feedback and some helpful solutions you can begin to look for the “bright spots” in the tremendous work your people are doing on a daily basis. Continue reading our blog series to uncover the next step to creating a culture of feedback and recognition.

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