KomposPerformance management systems are changing. The Marcus Buckingham company (www.tmbc.com) has developed for Deloitte, who employs 65,000 people globally, a new system, focusing on the strengths of each individual.  Among other tools, the system includes frequent conversations or “check-ins” between the manager and the team member, containing a review of what was achieved, quick feedback and the way moving forward.

In a fast-paced world, where teams constantly change, organizations are looking at new ways to manage performance. The tendency is coming from global, innovative and forward-thinking companies: they challenge the usefulness of the yearly performance appraisals and start adopting new methods for performance management. Systematic, strengths focused feedback is becoming a “star” in this new performance mgmt movement.

We see a rise in the use of systematic feedback, as a faster, more candid, more relational approach to performance management, saving time, while keeping the manager and team members closer together & more aligned in terms of performance.

So how has this come about, when, in the previous 10-15 years we heard so much about building intricate performance mgmt systems that would be applied across the globe, in big organizations?   Organizations seem to have realized that reducing complexity, where they can in the everyday life of the manager has a time-saving effect.  So, here, “feedback is king”.

Why? Because feedback boosts engagement

The famous Gallup findings, linking engagement with performance (see further reading), advocates that offering strengths feedback boosts engagement. According to the same study, feedback has a positive impact on engagement, while the lowest engagement lies among those who receive no feedback at all.

At Treasure Lab, we have been running Management Development Programs, across industries and management levels, in the last 12 years. As we develop managers into coaches, offering feedback is a main element of what they learn. Congruent to the research, we are nevertheless amazed each time, when participants share with us the increase in engagement of their teams, as they start increasing the frequency and quality of the feedback they offer. Increased engagement is strongly linked to increased performance and within this “recipe of success”, systematic feedback plays a strong role.

What is good feedback – the how and the positive /negative ratio.

Constructive feedback can be a lot of things and every person or team has their own rules for the best way to give and receive feedback. Yet, there are some ground rules, we keep finding in all management books and scientific research: they concern When, How and Positive /Negative Ratio.


When to give feedback

Offering feedback to your team members should not feel like a long wait… Keeping notes and piling negativity, only to be able to offer feedback once every six months is the least effective way. Finding  the right moment: when the event is still “fresh” and you are in a good mood works wonders!

How to do it

Offering feedback on something that went “wrong” may seem difficult, yet it is not. Research shows that it is viewed as very important by the receivers (see video in “Further reading”).

The rules are simple: have good examples of what you mean, say things in a “short and sweet” manner, give the other person some time to voice their point of view and then agree on a course of action.

The ratio of praise to criticism?

Much has been debated following the Heaphy and Losada research on the ideal praise-to-criticism ratio.  Despite the controversy, the conclusion remains that ideally a manager should focus more on what works and use corrective feedback less. Keep in mind that this holds for the total of communication among the team.  A simple comment “good work”, can be counted as positive feedback, as well as every piece of acknowledgement: “You are such a hard-working person”!

What can I do? What can I change, starting tomorrow?

At the beginning of 2016, this is your chance to keep this one resolution:

Offer feedback as a “gift” to others.  Discuss with your team members, celebrate and acknowledge what they do well, while working on ways of improving other things. Presupposing that you want to continue working with your team, there will be many more opportunities to give them positive feedback and acknowledgement than negative or corrective.

This is the resolution you will want to keep!


Further Reading

From Harvard Business Review



From Fast Company

From Forbes

From Fortune

And a very good video, on how people claim they like receiving negative feedback