What those CEOs risk who provide no feedback

Tatiana Smirnova Forbes Contributor

A number of managers either do not ever give any feedback or do use it as an instrument of control or manipulation. Both approaches can cause great risks.

Can a CEO believe that if he or she does not give any feedback to his or her employees they will have no motivation to do the job? Anyway, it is true: 98% of employees do not feel they are involved into doing the job if the top manager does not provide enough feedback to the employees (2011 MarketTools,Inc. survey that covered 630 respondents). We have taken a look of three risks a CEO can face while implementing feedback.

Risk One  

The term “feedback”, among managers, refers to a process in which its effect or result is “brought back” in order to change the next step in the process. Having this concept in mind, many use feedback as a tool of control or manipulation. It is here that a great risk for a manager lies, if the feedback is implemented ineffectively in the working team. People are very smart at spotting the intention to manipulate and control which makes them defend themselves. So they attack, rebel or just escape, even apply for dismissal. It is the “fight or flight” response that is triggered in the ancient brain, and it blocks the frontal lobes that are responsible for making decisions.

Risk Two

The manager should be wary of an illusion that feedback is provided with only aim to influence something in the future, hoping that the changes will take place by magic, all by themselves. For example, an employee is often late for the meetings, the manager does not approve of it and says: “You are late for the meetings all the time. I won’t excuse it any more! If you are late again, you will be fined.” Do you feel how the motivation of this employee is falling down? It is because the manager had not sorted out what was going on, but just issued an order unilaterally and threatened with a punishment for not obeying it. Obviously, that was not any feedback: a dialog with the manager was not meant. This approach only arouses rows, gossip and discord in the team.

We should not assume it can only happen in Russia. We are not alone: according to the research made by HBR together with SuccessFactors and Oxford Economics, more than a half of respondents from 27 countries acknowledged that their manager was not providing enough feedback, only demonstrating it in the frame of formal report (51%) or giving in during informal communication (57%). To sum up, every second employee experiences lack of quality communication with administration.

Risk Three

One more feedback risk is associated with the myth that it is only provided for the sake of criticism. However, positive feedback and appreciation is not less important for the employees. To sort it out, we should recognize the nature of people’s behaviour. The matter is that we are much better at spotting a fraud than an act of kindness. From the evolution point of view, one’s gene successful reproducing in next generations appeared to be a very good strategy. Therefore, when an employee fulfills their duties or even exceeds our expectations, we easily let by such events because they do not help us survive and carry on our dynasty.

Moreover, the importance of appreciation was also confirmed by the 2014 survey by Harvard Business Review, when 2415 employees from 10 countries were talked to in 7 languages. While analysing their responds, it was found out that there was a strong correlation between the employee’s level of loyalty and the recognition of their service by the company. As a result, 87% of 500 respondents who mentioned that their companies have appreciation programmes demonstrate high level of loyalty to their direct management. Only 51% of employes who stated that their companies had no such programmes said that they were loyal to their managers.

All this brings us to a conclusion that the managers who use positive feedback and celebrate their colleagues’ good work get the employees who are happier and more involved. Knowing it, you should train to be more appreciative of good work and to be able to translate it clearly to your colleagues.

The conclusion is this: you can uplevel your employees’ motivation and involvement with the help of feedback, as well as raise their loyalty to you as a leader by means of celebrating their success.

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