If employees are encouraged to speak up and are then rewarded, Shedletzky said, they’re likely to follow through. “Which doesn’t mean we make people right,” he said. “It means we say, ‘Thank you. Tell me more.’ ‘Oh, that’s a good point, I haven’t thought about that.’ ‘Oh, that’s not going to work but let’s talk about why.’ So long as speaking up is rewarded, people will keep doing it. As soon as you ignore repeatedly or punish, all of a sudden,” he said, people stop talking.
Once professionals become accustomed to being encouraged and rewarded for speaking up, a regular ritual of mutual feedback will form organically, Shedletzky said.
“Feedback is the input that gets us the output of better relationships,” he said. In order to provide the most constructive feedback, professionals should consider “FBI,” which stands for feeling, behavior, impact.
“It works for both positive and constructive feedback,” Shedletzky said. For example, instead of accusing someone who reports to you of being irresponsible when they showed up late to client meetings, Shedletzky suggested approaching it this way: “‘I’m not sure I can trust you with what’s on your plate. What’s going on? Are you okay? This isn’t you,’” he said. “Feedback is essential. As leaders, as anyone, we need to be mindful of how often we’re dishing it out and receiving it.”
Casey Gale is associate editor at Convene.