Why You Should Love Upward Feedback
If you’re in a managerial position and you are not getting feedback from your direct reports, you need to change this situation. It’s quite important for managers to receive upward feedback because it contains valuable inputs can be extracted into modified behavior, policies & process. In fact, soliciting upward feedback helps boost the morale of the entire team.
People are always keen to work for a manager who respects their opinion. If you demonstrate trust in your employee’s opinion, it will motivate your team to contribute more towards the success of the team. Such motivated employees are likely to be more engaged and stick around with the organisation for a longer period compared to those that sense a lack of trust.
Upward feedback from employees is valuable as it offers a fresh perspective. As a manager, you will be able to get a good grasp on what’s working for your team and what’s not. It’s not always feasible to have a 360 degrees perspective; hence insight from employees can be useful to you as a manager.
While the benefits of upward feedback are quite clear, the challenging part is that employees refrain from giving feedback to their managers. Most of the times they are worried about the consequences of giving such honest feedback, hence they lack the confidence to speak up. As a manager, you need to establish that level of trust with your employees and show your appreciation towards receiving upward feedback.
This article provides some useful tips that you can use to encourage your employees to provide their honest upward feedback.
Set the Foundation for Upward Feedback
To receive more, quality feedback from your employees, you need to set the stage so that they feel comfortable to come forth. You can set the foundation by:
- Welcoming constructive feedback
- Eliciting regular feedback
- Setting a good example
- Creating options for anonymous feedback
Welcoming Constructive Feedback
You need to explicitly share with your employees that you welcome constructive feedback and look forward to their advice.
Eliciting Regular Feedback
Do not sit and wait for your employees to come to you to offer their feedback. Instead, you should reach out to them directly and ask for their feedback. Make this a regular practice by setting up one on one discussions with your employees. Discuss what is their opinion regarding a current process, idea or the current project.
Setting a Good Example
You can encourage them to provide feedback by setting an example for them. Ensure that your team is aware when you offer feedback to your boss. When your team sees you offering feedback to your manager, it will automatically encourage them to open up and share their feedback as well. At the time of eliciting feedback from your direct report, probe for additional feedback from the person who is offering you the feedback. This kind of behavior will stimulate them to offer more feedback.
Creating Options for Anonymous Feedback
One of the powerful means of eliciting critical opinions is to offer the option of anonymous feedback. Not every individual may be comfortable to offer critical feedback in person. Hence you need to ensure that you offer your employees the option to share anonymous feedback.
Soliciting Honest Feedback from Employees
Ensure that you encourage and solicit honest feedback from your employees. Feedback is balanced when it entails constructive criticism as well as praise. You can encourage honest feedback by:
- Setting the right examples
- Building a culture of ownership
Whenever you receive feedback from your direct reports, you must ask them to provide examples. Examples will help you in comprehending what he or she is actually trying to convey in their feedback.
Building a Culture of Ownership
Instill a culture of ownership in your team by making everyone in the team understand that they have an equal state in the success of the organization. You can achieve this by seeking for new and better ways of doing things from them. Help your team feel empowered by encouraging them to make their own judgment regarding their performance and that of others. Set an example of admitting mistakes. Make room for constructive criticism and set an example of changing yourself for the sake of the entire team.
Things to Remember While Receiving Upward Feedback
The tips discussed above should help you to receive more upward feedback from your employees. Here are a couple of things that you need to remember while receiving upward feedback:
1. Figure out the underlying interests of the individual offering the feedback. Some of the underlying interests may be:
- To help your growth as a leader. By offering feedback on your ability to create a positive atmosphere within the team, they are helping you grow as a better leader.
- To help himself or herself by improving the mutual working relationship between the two of you.
- To help the team. For instance, he or she is of the opinion that unclear instructions are impacting the performance of the entire team.
If you understand the motivations of a feedback giver, you will find it easier to align yourself with the feedback offered.
2. Separate the Message from the Individual
You should keep the message separate from the individual who is offering you the feedback. Do not let your personal feelings interfere by being judgmental about the owner of the message. This is especially significant when someone offers you critical feedback about yourself. You should not hold any grudge against the feedback giver, so that they do not need to worry about speaking up in the future.
3. Respect the Difference of Opinion
As managers you need to see the big picture. You need to understand that there may be difference of opinion coming from different individuals. Even if you feel that a certain employee is not completely correct with their feedback, you need to show respect at least towards their initiative to speak up.
4. Acknowledge the Feedback
It is not mandatory for you to be in agreement with all the upward feedback that you receive. It is understandable that some of the opinions expressed may be purely circumstantial and not all feedback can be acted upon immediately. Acknowledge the feedback and promise to look into the feedback, and follow up on it as promised.
Upward feedback is as significant for you as it is to your team. Hence you need to work towards establishing trust between you and your employees, so they feel comfortable enough to reach out to you whenever they have a feedback to provide.