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Improving Communication at Work

Giving feedback simply means telling people how they're going at work. However, the real art of feedback is the ability to also accept feedback yourself – being prepared to listen to what others tell you, without being defensive if it's bad news.

Building a feedback culture in your organization, where everyone is comfortable about giving and receiving feedback about their performance, builds employee morale. Accepting feedback yourself helps you discover ways to improve your own or your business performance.

Many managers and supervisors though equate feedback with delivering bad news, with criticism of poor employee performance. But employee feedback also can, and should, be about giving good news. The reality seems to be that it isn't often done.

As a leader you can give positive feedback, deliver negative feedback in a constructive manner and also encourage feedback for yourself. This kind of give and take builds a feedback culture that encourages staff while it grows and strengthens your business.

A Five-Step Process for Improving Communication

Developing a constructive feedback culture in your organization really isn't difficult. Once you change your thinking from manager to leader the rest is easy. Very simply, it takes a five-step process to build more effective employee relationships. You can use this process to guide your reflection as a leader.

  1. Think and act like a leader

    Learn why you need to be a leader, what people want from a leader, what it takes to be a leader and how constructive feedback is an essential part of leadership.

  2. Clarify what you want

    Clarify your mission and vision for the business or department and decide what projects and tasks need to be done to achieve it.

  3. Understand staff needs

    Learn from research what all employees want; then apply some practical strategies for improving your own workplace relationships and business.

  4. Plan, discuss, agree, commit

    Turn your employees into a team and have fun, whether you own the business or manage a team or department.

  5. Give and get feedback

    Deal with the 'hard stuff' constructively, knowing what to say and how to say it. Then encourage staff to give you genuine feedback.Developing a feedback culture means encouraging people to feel comfortable about giving and taking feedback about their performance - in the interests of better business and their own personal development.

    Feedback doesn’t have to be negative; indeed there are far more occasions when positive feedback should be given. As a leader, you can seek those occasions using the simple five-step process above.

© 2010 Jennifer McCoy. All rights reserved.

For a practical guide on how to build more effective staff relationships through a culture of constructive feedback, read Two-Way Feedback - download the free introductory chapter