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A New Year’s Resolve

By Timothy Bentley

9 January 2018

This could be the year your organization makes a move that’s good for business, productivity, job satisfaction, employee retention, and public relations. That’s a lot of benefits.

2018 could also be the year the organization actively discourages a management style that is hostile, harassing, absent, or careless about interpersonal relations. That’s a lot of bad news avoided.

From the board and C-suite down, this approach will remind people of where their efforts are excellent, and encourage them to continue.

It will also draw their attention to where they are coming up short, so they can pause and reconsider how to make their workdays more valuable.

You can guess what I’m talking about

I’m suggesting you commit in 2018 to strengthen the culture of feedback in your organization. To make sure that no one is working in an interpersonal vacuum. To encourage open communication.

I’m not promoting a formal 360-degree feedback system here, though that would be an excellent move.

What I’m suggesting is that from the top down, you and your leaders demonstrate that it’s not only safe but encouraged to offer kind yet frank feedback to others.

Limiting factors

Honestly, a couple of major factors limit how feedback flows in your organization.

First, the most vulnerable people are naturally unlikely to speak up, particularly about people senior to them. For some juniors, that may include everyone! Yet these are the people most frequently affected by careless or hostile management.

The other factor is that those who receive little feedback are often those who are most scary.

They may have positioned themselves as dangerous. Think of the loud employee, the bully, the constant victim, or the person known to collect grievances.

Or they may be in a position of hierarchical power, like the boss or the boss’s boss. (Which is why you need your leaders to demonstrate that they appreciate feedback.)

Think of these as challenges, not blocks, to your new year’s resolution.

But don’t try this alone

It requires teamwork to make something like this work.

2018 could be your opportunity to work together with like-minded souls on a project that will pay off for everyone, from the sweepers to the shareholders.

Timothy Bentley is Chief Operating Officer of Panoramic Feedback