Building a Strong Feedback Culture in Your Team

Aleksi Saastamoinen
Dec 15, 2023
4 min read

In today's dynamic work environment, promoting a culture of feedback isn't just a nice-to-have; it's an actual advantage.

That being said, many companies still rely on old and outdated strategies which do consist of irregular and rare feedback, if any.

But how do you transform irregular, detached feedback sessions into an organized culture that pushes growth and innovation?

How Feedback Affects The Brain

Feedback isn't simply a random event — it's a primary component of a functioning work ecosystem. Yet, when feedback remains an irregularity rather than an integral part of our daily routines, it triggers an interesting response within our brains.

What do I mean by that? – Let me expand.

Biologically, our brain's response to unexpected feedback mirrors its reaction to an unexpected threat. This triggers stress hormones, causing an emotional and cognitive struggle. The sudden feedback, rather than being recognized as constructive, is seen as a potential danger, leading to a defensive or even hostile response.

Understanding this principle is important to knowing the reason you should implement regular, preannounced feedback sessions.

Integrate Feedback Into Your Daily Workflow

There are two main types of feedback. Let’s see some characteristics of detached feedback and integrated feedback.

Detached feedback, characterized by its untimely delivery in occasional 1:1 sessions or as a reactive response to unexpected issues, holds back its effectiveness by arriving when it's too late to activate meaningful change. This type of feedback often arrives after the crucial moment for intervention has passed.

By focusing primarily on past mistakes, detached feedback looks at what went wrong rather than developing a forward-thinking mindset looking toward improvement and growth.

Integrated feedback, effortlessly constructed into the workflow at strategic stages, offers a more proactive and empowering approach. By providing well-timed insights just before getting started on tasks and right before the task is completed, integrated feedback pushes an environment where improvement becomes an ongoing process instead of a reactive response to past failures.

This approach supports a culture centered on growth, encouraging continuous learning and refinement.

The one working best in the modern workplace is an easy choice to be made.

How to Integrate Feedback into Your Daily Workflow

Now we have established the reason for you to integrate weekly occurring feedback into your work.

Let’s see how to get started.

1. Leadership's Role in Workflow Planning

Leadership's role in workflow planning is essential, focusing on the broader structure of tasks rather than micromanaging the details. By putting together the overall framework without diving into details, leaders create a clear roadmap for their teams.

This approach allows for flexibility in task execution while outlining key points for combining feedback seamlessly into the workflow. In addition, you as the leader are responsible for recognizing the areas where there can be improvements based on feedback.

As a result, teams operate within a structured yet adaptable environment, adopting a culture where feedback naturally becomes an integral part of continual improvement and growth.

2. Set Feedback Checkpoints

Strategic feedback checkpoints need to be placed before task initiation and just prior to its completion, optimizing the effect on development while minimizing your team’s workflow distractions.

These crucial stages act as ideal moments for providing guidance and feedback, guaranteeing that improvements can be implemented effectively. By strategically timing feedback before and after work phases, teams can enhance their performance without interrupting their productive efforts.

Time your feedback to match a crucial state of a project. This happens by being involved with the project and creating an environment where feedback is a part of the task. Giving feedback in the beginning of the project, after certain stages and ultimately before the work is released is a good way to implement feedback.

3. Empowerment through Pre-Work Feedback

Encouraging your team members to outline their suggested solutions before starting tasks allows you to provide constructive guidance, creating a plan for success.

This approach to delegating your tasks with clarity ensures alignment and increases the likelihood of achieving the wanted outcome efficiently.

4. Precision in Post-Work Feedback

Providing deeper post-work feedback involves offering insights on the final output before it's released, ensuring its quality before the work reaches the audience. This precision in feedback just before release plays a crucial role in maintaining high standards and encouraging constant improvement within the team.

By fine-tuning the final work, your team ensures that their output meets expectations and contributes to ongoing development.

Using these steps to build your feedback process ensures that in your company feedback is a normal part of your workflow instead of being a scary, suddenly appearing monster.

Summary

Using this feedback integration framework provides a flexible structure to seamlessly use feedback as a tool in team collaboration, pushing continuous improvement.

Creating a robust feedback culture isn't about irregular criticism; it's about developing a continuous improvement mindset aligned with your team's workflow.

Strategic integration of feedback timing enables the leader to create an environment where feedback is not merely accepted but actively pursued.

The leader does not focus on minor details but is rather focused on the bigger picture and creates the feedback framework.

Let's focus on creating a culture where feedback is encouraged for improvement instead of being seen as a scary emergency.

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