Recognise This! – How can your people know they’re doing the right thing unless you tell them?

Continuing the conversation from yesterday’s post, why do employees want feedback? Isn’t it safer to assume people would rather just fly under the radar?

Well, yes, there are likely a few of those types in every organisation – the majority of whom I suggest should be weeded out. But in general, people need feedback. Kenexa research showed 1 in 4 employees believe “their own performance” has the most impact on their job security. People want feedback so they feel more secure in their jobs because they know their work is valued and they are delivering what the company needs.

A Harvard Business School working paper discussed in Strategy + Business found “feedback delivered on a regular basis, whether positive or negative, tends to result in improved performance.” This is in line with earlier research from Gallup that found employees who work for managers who give them mostly positive feedback are the most engaged, but even those whose managers give them mostly negative feedback are still far more engaged than those who work for managers that give no feedback at all.

Dominic Orr, president and CEO of Aruba Networks, reports this as one of the earliest and most important lessons he learned as a manager:

    “The biggest feedback I had from my people is that I didn’t give them feedback. I was running along.  I had a pretty high standard for myself, and I assumed that everybody who joined my team was operating at the same level. Good work was assumed, so I let them know only when something didn’t go well.  People started telling me it would be nice if I gave them a pat on the back rather than only telling them when things were not good.”

What was one of your earliest lessons as a manager that stuck with you, guiding your career?

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