FEEDBACK: A CLICHE OR ABSOLUTE NECESSITY

By AV, HR.

When it comes to corporate processes, a lot of procedures have been ingrained into organizational culture that many employees, and employers alike do not stop to think about their purpose.  The concept has always been a fascinating topic of conversation, and a significantly heavy one for employees. According to many successful business leaders worldwide, feedback is one of the most important ingredients for growth and innovation. And we at Cobblestone Energy do not disagree. Feedback is the hallmark of our culture of lifelong learning and continuous reflection.  

There are varying benefits to a culture of feedback. From a developmental perspective, feedback enables individuals and teams to learn from their mistakes and proceed effectively. Of course, this requires that feedback is given in a constructive manner. Feedback therefore acts as a channel for holistic development, highlighting areas of improvements with possible solutions. Real time feedback enables teams to meet objectives through mitigating obstacles as they arise. This means that failure is anticipated, and support is offered when required. In many cases, feedback enables managers to make decisions about promotions and turn over in combination with other systems. Finally, feedback creates room for an open and healthy working relationship within an organization. Openly sharing feedback helps team members to earn each other’s trust, learn how to work together, and manage their expectations. This is usually in the after math of continuous practice.  

Over the years, we have implemented and refined our feedback processes to ensure that they are highly effective and purposeful. This has involved a lot of investment in the form of time and training to make our staff comfortable and knowledgeable in the processes. According to Matter app, Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX says, “Pay attention to negative feedback, and solicit it, particularly from friends.” This is part of how he turns failure into awesome. How then, do we turn feedback from being a no-go zone or to-do list task for employees to a strength that can have a positive impact on not only organizations’ success but also careers and individual development. 

It is important that managers and team members bridge the communication gap when it comes to the purpose of the feedback processes in place. Managers need to articulate both the benefits and reasons for the feedback processes. A lot of time, employees tend to think that feedback processes are focused on collecting negative information about staff members in order to dismiss their employment. Unfortunately, this reputation is not by fault. A lot of misconstrued biases have developed from managers misusing information from feedback processes in many organizations. This has created a massive barrier for honesty and enthusiasm when it comes to giving feedback.  

Additionally, feedback processes should be straight-forward. Teams should receive appropriate training when it comes to giving feedback effectively as well as receiving it. The former is usually prioritized ignoring the fact that within teams, it cannot function well without the latter. It is important to also set up systems that incentivize members to solicit and give feedback. Some options to explore would be holding timely dedicated feedback sessions and incorporating feedback within day-to-day work. This is in fact a good strategy for encouraging a feedback culture. It reduces the pressure from scheduled feedback sessions and events and makes members comfortable with proactively airing their opinions.  

We have seen how feedback is valuable in any form of organisation. Most importantly, individuals can use feedback as a tool for their own development by seeking it and using it effectively to leverage their strengths and improve on areas of potential. Within our culture, feedback is a widely accepted form of develppment and our leadership continues to set an example by always seeking it and acting upon any areas that require change. As an employee, I feel very much inspired by this humility and always confident in the fact that speaking out may impact the business and cause positive changes within the company. This has a direct benefit on my value addition. Additionally, I have learnt to keep my head up even in the face of criticism, and be aware that negative feedback is not an attack on who I am, but a fertilizer for the excellence within my potential.

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