Engaged Feedback

Feedback and constructive criticism are vital to individual productivity and growth, as well as company performance and growth. The method and delivery of feedback is just as important.  

As a human resources leader of a growing organization, I have direct reports, as well as the role of coaching other supervisors. One fundamental task all leaders and managers are challenged with is providing feedback. Often times, I see a person in a management role take a dictatorial approach, silent approach (no news is good news), or ostrich approach (burying your head in the sand and avoiding the issue).  All of these approaches miss the mark on maximizing the effectiveness of employee productivity and engagement. Employees don’t need to be appeased to – they need to be engaged, and engagement leads to productivity. Numerous studies citing statistical support of this can be found online, but it’s a simple mathematical formula, really: Feedback + Engagement = Increased Productivity. What manager or business leader doesn’t want to see those results? 

Often times we are caught up in day-to-day task completion, firefighting, deflecting, and finger pointing, that managers, leaders, and supervisors do not take the time to engage in feedback appropriately with our direct reports or colleagues. This is an area that many can improve in by asking themselves, ‘How do I give feedback?’

Recently, I read Dr. Brené Brown’s book titled Daring Greatly, and was especially impressed with her “Engaged Feedback Checklist” in Chapter 6. In the book,  Dr. Brown urges you to “dare greatly,” and give feedback from a place of engagement, not judgment. So what does it mean to be engaged? The dictionary defines engagement five different ways, but Merriam Webster’s definition of emotional involvement or commitment is what I am referring to, and what Dr. Brown so eloquently articulates in her book.  What does it mean to participate in ‘engaged feedback?’  Below is Dr. Brown’s “Engaged Feedback Checklist”:

Dr. Brené Brown - Daring Greatly Checklist

If everyone would “dare greatly” and communicate from a place of engagement, whether it be at work during a conflict or solving a problem, or even at home in their personal life, they would reap a fuller, more “wholehearted” (to use Dr. Brown’s terms) connection. 

This is only a small piece of what Dr. Brown covers in her book, but I found it extremely relevant to what I do every day in my professional life, as well as my personal life.  If all leaders and managers decided to give feedback from a place of engagement, productivity would increase and turnover would decrease.  Dr. Brown’s “Engaged Feedback Checklist” provides a simple recipe for these results.