Monday, 27 january 2020 | Redacción CEU
Nowadays, one of the biggest fears among professionals is that their work may eventually end up being performed by a robot. Thus, it is striking to see that companies often forget to take care of one of the main characteristics of employees, and one that makes them unique: their ability to have emotions. This can only be done maintaining a strong commitment to soft skills. In particular, when we talk about emotions at work, empathy and communication are especially important. The way we interact with others, our ability to put ourselves in the shoes of our coworkers, our gestural and verbal language, as well as what we say and what we do not say are as important at work as our technical capabilities. Therefore, today, in CEU IAM Blog, we want to focus especially on a key aspect to communication: feedback. Why is it important to give and receive feedback?
Ethical leaders do not give orders, but they delegate instead. As we have mentioned on other occasions, delegating is the way through which leaders learn to share responsibilities. Nonetheless, there are other formulas which are also useful in order to involve, guide and motivate employees. Some of these actions that may contribute to this goal are sharing feelings, impressions, ideas, suggestions and opinions. In fact, silence is one of the worst messages that managers can send to their employees. When nothing is said, workers do not have any type of reference. They do not know whether they are performing a good job, whether there is something they should improve and whether they are fulfilling the objectives of the company. Likewise, they do not know what job expectations they might have either. Thinking that workers only have to know the details of their assigned tasks is a reductionist approach.
What does feedback exactly means?
At work, the term "feeedback" gives name to the response or reaction that helps us measure the level of satisfaction of our recipient, which in this case could be a client, a partner or a boss. An example: <<Last week, we presented a new product and we are receiving very positive feedback from customers>>. Indeed, this response is key to a business that works primarily for consumers (B2C), but in any company the care of the relationship between managers and subordinates is also essential. The more information professionals have about the performance of their work, the more productive they can become and the more trust they will have in the people who offer it. On the other hand, bosses cannot call themselves leaders, if they do not offer adequate feedback to their employees, as they will not be guiding them properly.
When we use this term, we are referring to a kind of criticism. And as such, it can have two senses: positive or negative. Both can be useful to improve performance. However, we should always keep in mind that emotions come into play in this type of communication, so it will be very important to keep a proper approach:
As the name implies, positive feedback focuses on the positive aspects of work: good behaviors, the fulfillment of goals, proactive attitudes, etc. It is a type of recognition that has a strong impact on professionals, especially when it is expressed in public. It helps professionals to grow, increase their level of confidence and reaffirm themselves. On the other hand, with this feedback, leaders set the path on which they want to work, guide the rest of the professionals, improve their performance and increase their motivation. Feedback is a kind of compass that helps leaders set the course. It is their North.
Should leaders always share what they think about their teams? Yes, they should as long as their assessments are constructive and work-related and might help employees to grow. Professionals do not always perform a good job, and the leaders' job is to reverse this kind of situations. In this case, appraising someone’s job in public may have a very negative impact, so it is advisable to choose an opportune moment to communicate this information and not offer this type of feedback in an improvised and impulsive way. It is important to underline that the approach must always be constructive. The objective is to modify a behavior, an attitude or a bad execution of the work, not to punish it. Empathy is crucial.