People Performance

How to give feedback that drives performance

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Giving honest feedback can help drive employee success, but it isn’t always easy to do! Here’s how to use the concept of ‘radical candor’ to help boost employee engagement and performance within your workplace. 

Radical Candor challenges managers to be more direct when giving feedback

Coined by author and speaker Kim Scott, the concept of “Radical Candor” means caring personally while challenging your team more directly. It is commonly discussed when it comes to giving feedback in the workplace. 

“When bosses are too invested in everyone getting along they also fail to encourage the people on their team to criticize one another other for fear of sowing discord. They create the kind of work environment where being “nice” is prioritized at the expense of critiquing and therefore improving actual performance.” Kim Malone Scott

A few guidelines on how to make the most of this concept within your organisation:

  1. Build relationships before adopting ‘radical candor’ 

While honesty builds trust, it’s important to take into account that every person will respond differently.

If you’re planning on providing more honest feedback, ensure that the person in front of you already feels comfortable with you already, and understands that the feedback is in no way a personal attack or criticism.

By developing your relationships on a more human level first, your team will feel safer and more receptive to feedback. 

  1. Use constructive criticism to help your team improve

The danger of honesty is that it can sometimes lead to low morale or team members feeling frustrated and demotivated. 

It’s important to use radical candor in a way that helps uplift and evolve your team’s approach, if you feel that it will be helpful to them and the success of your projects. 

Avoid being unnecessarily critical if it does not serve your team members, and try to share personal anecdotes and examples to show them that you have been in their shoes!

  1. Remember that even the best intentions can get lost in translation!

The beauty of diverse teams is the variety of worldviews, backgrounds, and beliefs that are brought to the table. 

Although being kind and clear with your feedback should certainly help team performance, it doesn’t always translate well across cultures! Communication styles and norms may look very different from one culture to the next. 

Beyond this, your team members may not all be as confident, outgoing, or open to feedback, so it’s important to bear this in mind when sharing feedback.

  1. Exercise compassion, always!

Ensure you care about your people and share feedback from a place of kindness and compassion! 

According to Nobl, “While Radical Candour can benefit an organization, it has to be used in the right context: specifically, you must have an established level of trust and respect within a team first. If team members don’t have empathy for their coworkers, it’s too easy to deliver harsh criticism and excuse it by claiming it’s just “Radical Candour.”

Radical Candor means making an effort to build rapport and practise compassion. This will help improve relationships at work and drive greater performance for your growing company.

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And finally, take a moment to let your team know how much their efforts are valued and recognised! You can never give enough thanks. 

Written on February 4, 2021

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