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Yes - you can build a feedback culture
August 05, 2014

Build a “feedback” culture

In my last Leader Newsletter issue last month – I talked about the three most important tools inside your managerial toolkit:

  • Positive Feedback / Constructive Feedback / Paraphrasing

    A significant percentage of you replied back telling me that “feedback” sounds good in theory –

    But when you actually go face to face with your employees to give them constructive feedback – it’s a VERY different story …

    Your employees perceive it as criticism, they get defensive – and in the end – providing feedback becomes counterproductive for you (their manager).

    Interesting indeed!!!

    This is why I love it when you write back to me.

    When you tell me about your doubts, your experiences, your issues, etc., you allow me to become aware about my own assumptions and to see things that I hadn’t considered writing about.

    Thank you!

    Anyway – let me address your concern head on …

    If a feedback culture does NOT exist within the team you lead – and all of a sudden you decide that it is a good idea to give constructive feedback to one of your employees – it is likely that such employee might not be 100 per cent receptive to your feedback.

    It is like throwing a bucket of cold water onto somebody by surprise.

    If your employees react negatively when you give them constructive feedback – it simply means that you haven’t done three things …

    Before you start giving constructive feedback to your employees – you must do the following …


    You must be able to show to your employees the benefits of using feedback within the team you lead.

    In other words – your job as their manager is to teach them the advantages of this tool. You must “sell” to them the value of constructive feedback.

    Nobody is perfect, we all have blind spots, we all make mistakes, we all have areas of opportunity, we are all better off when we learn and grow, etc., etc., etc.

    Feedback accelerates your personal, professional – and team development.

    Without feedback it would be much more difficult – if not impossible – to grow as individuals and as a team.

    Top performers in any field are always receiving feedback, learning from it and growing thanks to it. Feedback is the breakfast of champions.

    Think about two teams:

    Within team “A” feedback is non-existent: Nobody gives / receives feedback – ever.

    Within team “B” feedback is a daily behavior exhibited extensively by the team leader and by all team members.

    Within team “B” feedback is multi-directional – meaning – feedback flows downstream (team leader gives feedback to team members), upstream (team members give feedback to team leader) and sideways (team members give feedback to one another among themselves).

    Question …

    Which team do you think is going to perform much more effectively in the long-term, team "A" or team "B"?

    The answer is obvious – isn’t it?

    Hence – the first thing you must do it is to clearly convey to your employees the value that feedback can supply to the team you lead.


    Once your employees have really seen and clearly understood what feedback can do for them and for your team – once they have “bought” the feedback tool – then and only then can you agree together with them about your team’s feedback ground rules.

    Before you start giving and receiving feedback – first – you must agree together with your employees “how” you will give and receive feedback.

    The nature of these ground rules will be determined by the culture of your team. Hence – it is impossible for me to tell you exactly what those ground rules are.

    However – I highly suggest you start with the basics:

  • Focus on behaviors – don’t ever use judgments, e.g., don’t use the word “attitude.”
  • Give feedback immediately – within the first 24 hours.
  • Provide constructive feedback individually – not in public.
  • When giving positive feedback – be genuine – if you don’t really meant it, don't give it. Positive feedback must be heartfelt.
  • Etc.

    Note: Do NOT impose any ground rules on to your employees – rather – agree together with them about such ground rules.


    Finally – you may start giving and receiving feedback.

    And as you start practicing – little by little polish together with your employees your ground rules.

    Voilà – that’s it.


    First – educate your employees about the value of feedback.

    Second – agree together with your employees about your team’s feedback ground rules.

    Third – start practicing – and gradually polish your ground rules.

    IF there is anything that you don’t understand or you don’t agree with – or if you find it difficult executing the content of this newsletter issue – please let me know.

    A dialogue between you and me gives you much better results than just a monologue from me.

    Finally – please allow me give you a friendly reminder – in order to better meet your leadership development needs …

    Tell me – what do you usually struggle with?

    Write it down and hit the “Reply” button.

    Thank you VERY much – and see you on the first Tuesday of next month …

    Please click here to see the entire "Leader Newsletter" Archive.

    Questions? Feedback? Reply to this Newsletter and tell me what you would like future issues to be about.

    Feel free to re-send this "Leader Newsletter" to your colleagues.

    Most recent 12 "Leader Newsletter" issues:

    Most important tools inside your managerial toolkit
    You must know the answer to this simple question
    What organization do you want to build and lead?
    A simple “hello” and the bottom line
    Are these two assumptions costing you money?
    Do you have a difficult employee?
    Are you alert by choice - or stressed by default?
    Do you want to get rid of stress?
    Can’t you improve your team’s performance?
    Misunderstandings cost you money
    Your Goals on Steroids
    Do you "control" your public-speaking nervousness?

    See you next month!
    Joseluis Romero - Publisher
    August 5, 2013. Copyright: All rights reserved
    I publish "Leader Newsletter" on the first Tuesday of every month
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