How to Encourage People to Give Themselves Feedback and Act on It
Most people want to do better in their job. And most people know a lot (but not all) of the things they need to improve. If you work closely with someone there are always things you notice that the other person doesn’t see so easily. And yes, these things may well increase their performance. But let’s not start there. You’d have to walk through land mines right up front. There’s plenty of value you can gain by starting on an easier path.
Avoid scaring them if you can get a lot of improvement in other ways.
The field of brain science offers many studies that clearly show that unsolicited feedback from others triggers fear and resistance from the same people who know and can learn on their own what best to improve. Fight or flight almost always kicks in when you give them feedback they didn’t ask for. But fight or flight doesn’t happen when the same employees freely choose one or more people to ask for feedback The Neuro Science Institute has helped high-tech companies take advantage of these findings to set up programs that encourage everyone in the company to lead their own feedback collection, with the result of happier employees and very huge performance results.
Here are some tips for leading the effort:
1. Make a big deal of the value of feedback and kick off your effort as a role model for using feedback.
2. Share specific improvement areas you are working on. Use some humor to make it fun.
3. Explain that in this campaign, everyone is expected to identify areas that will lead to clearly observable performance improvements.
4. Encourage them to choose 1-2 people who can help them find the best areas to work on. They are free to choose anyone with whom they work closely.
5. Ask them to document what areas they chose and ask them to share these areas in an upcoming meeting with their team.
6. Regularly ask everyone what progress they’ve made on these improvements
Celebrate the unexpectedly great outcomes using this easy approach!
You will be pleasantly surprised at the relevance of their improvement goals and the progress they and the whole team sees!