Appreciative feedback culture in Covid-19 times
Criticism in group chats or other public platforms very quickly leads to misunderstandings, a feeling of not feeling understood and thus has a potential for conflict. It is better to speak to the person, or in Covid-19 times, a personal video conference or on the phone before you only express yourself in writing or in the presence of others.
If longer virtual meetings cannot be avoided, reconsider the meeting rules once again.
· Let others express themselves
· Address with names
· Include all participants, even the quieter ones
Ensure that the delegated tasks are really understood.
This is important not only as a supervisor, but also in general in organizational meetings. As soon as tasks are distributed or transferred, it is useful to make sure that everyone has understood their role and tasks and therefore knows their next steps. This can be done by the supervisor, a project manager or a selected participant of the meeting.
Neurobiology and Feedback
Depending on your cultural area, there are still great differences in how the word 'feedback' is perceived and understood.
In the current situation, in which a lot of uncertainty can lead to increased stress, I would like to point out that there is not only 'negative' but also positive feedback! Unfortunately, this is easily forgotten.
Neurobiologically has an explanation for this. Our brain has had many thousands of years to concentrate on negative rather than positive factors. It was an evolutionary advantage to focus on danger instead of success.
As a supervisor you should be aware of this, because some of the negative feedback can overshadow the completely positive feedback. Biologically, when negative feedback is received, the fear sensors are activated, which is beyond our conscious control. Our brain tries to protect us and sometimes triggers an escape reflex.
Special attention should be paid to our own facial expressions and hand gestures in virtual interaction. Therefore, I would like to call not only the superiors among you to express your appreciation to colleagues and employees once again and to motivate them to get through these times.
Do people trust scientists?
According to a study of 'Wellcome Global Monitor' globally
- 18% of people have a high
- 54% have a medium
- 14% have a low level of trust in scientists.
The remaining 13% of people obviously have no opinion.
It won't be easy to change the perception of an entire profession, but it might change in the course of the Covid-19-situation.
Feedback: Make the difference!
As manager you should to make a difference, even in home-office. To accept feedback, there should be a basis of trust.
Unfortunately, in many organizations fear and mistrust are so widespread that it is difficult to give honest feedback. It is an interesting dynamic; many employees increasingly want to build a deeper relationship with the people they work with. They like to talk about personal things like their favorite sports team or their kids. And now, in the home office, we are also visually confronted with children jumping around in the background or musical instruments hanging on the wall.
As a boss or colleague, you might consciously not want to be perceived as a friend, because you are afraid that respect and work ethic might suffer. This in turn might make team member feel that it is better not to open up, as this could be `dangerous´. As unimportant as it may seem: suppressing one's identity can have great psychological effects, as it is psychologically exhausting.
Feedback makes us vulnerable.
All the more important to build up trust in order to be able to give and receive constructive feedback. Unfortunately, there are still enough colleagues and superiors who cannot handle well-intentioned, constructive feedback.
The feeling of being attacked and judged can easily lead to an emotionally triggered 'offensive behaviour’. This is biologically easily explained, but does not make the result less unpleasant.
Let's assume I had given a colleague a friendly feedback about the fact that he or she regularly interrupts me and others. My concern was, among other things, to make her/him aware of this behaviour and to spare her/him gossip among colleagues. As a reaction, a tirade of abuse took place on his part, like an implication of my own imperfectness. The likelihood that I would ever give feedback to this colleague again would certainly have been greatly reduced.
Unfortunately, this also decreases any further development, a transformation from unconscious to conscious behaviour with this colleague.
Consequently, I should
1. consider how I can build trust and improve my feedback technique to avoid such a reaction.
2. train myself to receive feedback.
Trust makes us more relaxed, because less energy has to be spent on control. And we have enough energy thieves in our everyday lives, don't we?
According to human psychology, trust is a learned behaviour. Its roots reach back to childhood. Our trust basically stems from two components:
- and trust in others.
In general, we therefore have a tendency to give a benefit of the doubt. When we are disappointed, we do not direct our distrust at other people, only selectively at the specific person.
Some people, however, show different behaviour if trust has been abused. They become more suspicious, others downright hostile. They build up a kind of psychosocial armour of scepticism and suspicion.
Bevor we look at different ways how to gain trust, I´d like to look at the basic requirements first.
Show true interest! And if it means at least as a minimum not to look at the smartphone or in another mail when someone is talking. (Want to know more? https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/how-getting-better-listening-like-changing-your-diet-ellen-preussing/)
Authenticity or honesty:
To pursue a clear course is particularly important in people management. There is no point in being popular with everyone, if you have to twist yourself. It´s better to be consistent and therefore reliable. Values and integrity also play a role here.
Cave: Our unconscious is a fantastic `tracking dog´. And whether we like it or not, if we want to hide something, we often reveal it to others in another, non-verbal way.
Logic/knowledge and transparency:
This involves not only acting logically, but also how one's knowledge is communicated to the outside world. Ideally, in the first sentence, you already get to the heart of what you want to express in just a few words and can then still develop the story behind it. If you are interrupted before you reach the end, the main aspect is still understood.