I have worked in a wide variety if work environments and teams. From a startup that we had started from scratch, working without any hierarchies. There we struggled to find a forum where we could not only exchange ideas and give positive feedback – but also constructive criticism.
I have also worked in huge corporations where it took me months to find like-minded digital marketing experts to exchange experiences. And where team meetings mainly consisted of orga talks about how to clean the coffee maker properly. How to get on in the team was mainly discussed behind closed doors next to the coffee machine. Or in half-yearly, half-hourly feedback talks with your team lead that had filled out 10 page feedback sheets prepared by the HR department.
Which of these business models had the better feedback culture?
My experience is that a culture of constructive criticism does not depend on the size of the team or the company.
It depends on the way you and your team communicate, and mainly on creating a work environment where everyone feels safe!
Why is creating a safe work environment important?
Whenever you feel safe with the people you work with or for, you will feel seen and respected. You will have the certainty that your opinion is worth being heard and that your work is being valued. When feeling safe, you will not only deal better with criticism, but also be able to formulate criticism constructively. And moreover, you will be more motivated to reach your goals.
Creating a culture of constructive criticism is essential for any growing team. When done properly, constructive criticism can help individuals and teams grow and improve. However, it can be difficult to know where to start, especially when working with a team that is constantly evolving.
In this article, I will share my advice for creating a work culture of constructive criticism in a growing team:
1. Set clear expectations and guidelines
Before you start implementing a culture of constructive criticism, it’s important to set clear expectations and guidelines. This includes outlining what constructive criticism means, how it should be delivered and received, and what the goals of the feedback process are. Having clear guidelines and expectations in place will help ensure that everyone is on the same page and that feedback is delivered in a way that is both helpful and productive.
2. Start with small steps
When implementing a new culture of constructive criticism, it’s important to start with small steps. This can mean starting with one-on-one feedback sessions before moving on to larger team meetings. Starting with small steps will help build confidence and trust in the feedback process and will make it easier for individuals to give and receive feedback.
3. Emphasize the positive
Constructive criticism is all about finding ways to improve, but it’s important to emphasize the positive as well. When giving feedback, start by highlighting what the individual or team is doing well. This will help build confidence and create a positive atmosphere for feedback.
4. Use “I” statements
When giving feedback, it’s important to use “I” statements. This means framing feedback in terms of your own experience rather than making generalizations about the individual or team. For example, instead of saying “you need to improve your communication skills,” try saying “I had a hard time understanding what you were trying to say in that meeting.” This will help make the feedback feel less personal and more objective.
5. Encourage feedback from all levels
Constructive criticism should not just come from managers or team leaders. Encourage feedback from all levels of the team, including individual contributors. This will help create a culture of openness and collaboration, and will help everyone feel invested in the feedback process.
6. Make it a regular practice
Creating a culture of constructive criticism requires regular practice. Make sure that feedback is an ongoing part of your team’s culture, rather than something that only happens once in a while. This could mean having regular one-on-one meetings, team meetings focused on feedback, or using tools like anonymous surveys to gather feedback from the team.
7. Foster a growth mindset
A growth mindset is the belief that individuals and teams can learn and grow over time. This is essential for creating a culture of constructive criticism. Encourage your team to adopt a growth mindset by emphasizing the importance of learning and improvement, and by celebrating successes along the way.
8. Provide resources for improvement
Constructive criticism is only helpful if individuals and teams have the resources they need to make improvements. Make sure that your team has access to the tools, training, and resources they need to make positive changes. This could mean investing in training programs, providing access to coaching or mentorship, or investing in technology that can help streamline processes and improve communication.
9. Celebrate progress
Creating a culture of constructive criticism can be challenging, but it’s important to celebrate progress along the way. When individuals or teams make positive changes based on feedback, make sure to celebrate their progress and recognize their hard work. This will help build momentum and keep everyone invested in the feedback process.
10. Lead by example
Finally, it’s important to lead by example. If you want your team to adopt a culture of constructive criticism, you need to model that behavior yourself. Be open to feedback, encourage others to give you feedback, and make sure that you’re actively engaged in the daily business and the people.
The world is changing rapidly and this is also noticeable in our working lives. Corona, climate change, insecure pensions,… countless factors contribute to the fact that we feel insecure. That’s why managers are expected to have completely new skills today. They should ensure an environment of security, collegiality and tolerance. We call it the ‘Fearless Organisation’ that is essential for a team to achieve good performance.
As a New Work Facilitator I will guide you and your team to create a safe work environment that fits your and your team member’s needs, AND achieve the organization’s goals! Depending on the size of the team I give employees from all areas and levels the opportunity to get involved. I work as a facilitator, not a coach. As a facilitator I enable you and your team to get to the solution as a team. A solution that fits your individual company’s needs.
Want to work on your company culture? I am looking forward to your message!