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hidden agendas
negative consequences
building trust
time don
best interest
credibility
compassion
resistance
Trust: The Foundation Of Employee Feedback
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If employees don’t trust that managers have worker’s best interest in mind, they will build a wall of resistance and defensiveness that is difficult to penetrate. If that happens it’s difficult for employees to accept a manager’s feedback. You can work towards building trust. Here are some suggestions:

Respect confidentiality. Don’t discuss one employee’s performance while talking to another employee, unless you have the permissions of the employee to do so. Protect the interests of employees who aren’t there. If you don’t, no one will share their vulnerabilities and concerns with you. Even the employee you’re talking to will worry that you might ultimately talk about them too. You can discuss a positive performance in public. Employees hearing this will want you to do the same about them and will perform well for you.

Establish credibility. You don’t have to brag about your experience and skills, but do share your competence. You were put in a position of leadership because of your knowledge and experience. This gives you the authority on any subject you are discussing. Unless employees think you know what you’re talking about and value your opinions, they can easily brush off your feedback.

At the same time, don’t act as if you have all the answers. Show that it’s ok for everyone not to be perfect and want to improve by revealing your own limits. You’re not perfect in everything. By showing your employees this you set the example that it’s ok for them not to be perfect.

Show compassion. Implement decisions with sensitivity, especially those with negative consequences. This includes letting employees know what’s coming, to the extent that you can, and acting as though information is not proprietary. An Atmosphere of hidden agendas is not conducive to feedback.

Don’t stockpile feedback. Doing so creates an atmosphere in which employees feel blindsided. They’ll be continually on edge, waiting for the other shoe to drop. Instead, talk openly about what employees need to work on and how they are doing day in and day out.

Care about employees’ successes. If you show that you genuinely care about employees’ successes, then you create a lot of room to discuss performance issues—even difficult ones. People link success with learning. If on the other hand, employees perceive your goal has a punishing edge of nailing them for incorrect behavior, then the feedback experience will be painful for everyone. Employees begin to trust managers when they believe that you understand their desired and concerns and see what you are trying to accomplish on their behalf.


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