As a team manager, providing feedback is not solely your responsibility. Because you cannot observe everything that goes on, you cannot be the only one holding people accountable. Team dynamics would not be as strong as they could be if you are the only one praising and critiquing performance. Everyone needs to contribute with regular, constructive feedback. Here are some principles to set a foundation to provide positive and negative feedback among your team.
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Clarify what your standards and expectations are for your team. Everyone needs to operate from the same mindset about what the goals and norms are. When starting a project, ask your direct reports how they want to work together and hold each other accountable. Have them come up with a team agreement about how to divide the work, meet deadlines, and related issues. Encourage your team to provide feedback about what will happen when expectations are not reached.
Regularly Check In
Start with regular, structured check-ins about how your team is doing. When creating a project plan, include the check-ins as part of the timeline. Around the third check-in, ask your team questions such as, “On a scale of one to five, how well is everyone sharing the workload? What needs to change?” Use what you learn to provide feedback about where your team excels and where they have challenges. Ask everyone for specific ways to improve.
Work Up to Structured Reviews
As your team gets used to collaborating and sharing feedback, find out about individual performance. Ask each person to write a review of their colleagues to be read during the next meeting. Include one thing they appreciate about each member and one helpful thing they can do differently. The goal is to show how individual behaviors impact the team. Receiving similar feedback from others shows a real need to address an issue.
Openly Discuss Performance Issues
When your team experiences a problem, talk about it as a group. Having others encourage someone to change is more effective than having one person suggest the change. Follow up with the team member through individual conversations. Ask what they heard from the team, how they plan to do things differently, and how you can help.
Debrief After Projects
When a project ends, check in with your team to discuss what did and did not work. Find out what should be brought forward and what should be done differently next time. Take notes to include in the final project review and as part of each member‘s annual performance appraisal. Use the feedback to determine what each person needs to do to develop further.
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