At PaySimple, we are fanatics about being authentic in your approach to work and throughout each interaction each other. Providing authentic feedback is something we talk about a lot– whether it’s a pat on the back or a suggestion for improvement, we try to keep feedback flowin’. But, it’s so much easier said than done.
I loved this interview from one of Hudl’s co-founders, John Wirtz, about a technique they call being “respectfully blunt.” Here are some techniques they use that you can borrow for your business:
Their team discourages “compliment sandwiches.” We’ve all been on the receiving end of those, right? “I think you’re doing a great job! Your presentation in the meeting basically bombed, but your slides were super pretty!” The technique is meant to soften the blow of the constructive criticism, but it also makes the compliments (the bread of this particular sandwich) seem, well, stale. No one latches on to the nice things you say before and after your real feedback so cut to the chase. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t give positive feedback, but do it authentically when it’s the right time — not when you’re just trying to be nice.
Ask for Feedback
Employees at Hudl will say, “All right, give me the hashtag-real-talk…” and that creates the space for coworkers to weigh in. One of the best ways to increase the amount of authentic communication isn’t just to start walking around giving lots of feedback but for folks to start actively asking for it in really specific ways. “How do you think my presentation went?” isn’t likely to get you much beyond “Great!” If you ask “I think this could be better. What do you think I could do next time to improve?” then you’re really asking for feedback rather than for confirmation that all is well.
Bring It into the Interview
Maybe it’s because I handle hiring here at PaySimple, but I really believe that anything you want to bring into your company, you must bring into your interview process. One of my favorite questions: “Tell me about a time you got some feedback at work that was a little hard to hear and how you applied it.” Hudl asks about the other side too, “’Give me an example where you delivered some #RealTalk that was challenging to deliver.” If you want to encourage authentic feedback in your organization, you have to hire people who are comfortable with it.
Creating a culture where you and your employees can be honest and open will let everyone have the opportunity to improve and grow and ultimately make your business more successful because you can identify and improve at every point.
See weekly Small Business Tips like this one by subscribing to our blog.
Image credit: Time for Feedback, Revenue Times, Flickr