Why feedback should be mutual

In my posts or articles on feedback, I introduce you to how feedback is part of a systematic approach to continuous improvement, learning from each other, personal development, and goal orientation. In some models of feedback, several feedback sources are already used – when exchanging ideas with buddies, when giving feedback in a team, in agile development processes (retros), in reverse mentoring and in 360-degree feedback, you try to get different perspectives.

I see a need to catch up in the models from industrial performance management. Performance appraisal, development or goal discussions are almost always all about top-down feedback. Thus constricted, companies are giving away considerable potential for the development of their organization. The age of knowledge needs different concepts.

Why should mutual feedback between managers and employees become the norm, the core of a new performance management?

  • Managers usually only receive feedback from their direct manager. Employees experience their superiors in different situations of everyday working life compared to indirect managers. These further perspectives of the employees should not be excluded. They enrich the perceptions, and the sum of the feedback can result in a broader and unadulterated picture.
  • A broad and unadulterated image is the basis for targeted personal development.
  • Managers who only receive feedback from their superiors are confronted with subjective feedback, sometimes also politically coloured feedback – weak managers fear good employees. Demotivation, employees leaving the company can be the result.
  • Studies show that the leaders who frequently ask for feedback are more [1]successful. The study mentioned in the footnote shows a clear correlation between the frequency with which executives ask for feedback and the effectiveness of their leadership. Knowledge is everywhere in the organization; it just needs to be activated.
  • Managers who also receive feedback from their employees become more sensitive in their feedback and go into these conversations better prepared.
  • Studies show a connection between systematic feedback and employee satisfaction also for the feedback of employees to their [2]managers.
  • Companies are managed less and less top-down. Not as an end in itself, but to become more efficient, flexible, innovative and customer oriented. Bottom-up elements then complement hierarchical mindset and hierarchical structures or are replaced by self-controlling teams. Mutual feedback is an integral part of this open corporate culture.
  • Companies that want to become agile in this sense rely on a coaching leadership style in which encounters at eye level, respectful interaction and open exchange is the basis. In addition, the feedback from employees helps managers to grow into these new leadership requirements.

Companies are still reluctant to reform their performance management approaches. My feedback framework can help you overcome the existing barriers and resistances.

[1] See point 15 https://www.cognology.com.au/the-psychology-behind-better-workplace-feedback-15-surprising-facts/

[2] https://www.amadeus-fire.de/fileadmin/user_upload/Auswertung_Ministudie_AmadeusFire_v1.5_web.pdf

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