Is Your Organization Ready to be Open, Not Confidential, with Regard to Giving Feedback?

Giving feedback must be confidential, right? Our answer, "why?"

Is Your Organization Ready to be Open, Not Confidential, with Regard to Giving Feedback?

What is the purpose of confidentiality?

  • "to say what needs to be said."
  • "to protect from retribution."
  • "to get at the real issues."

Our perspective: "when we don't know how to say something constructively, we say it confidentially."

Confidentiality is a symptom of a broken system. It is necessary when the feedback is focused on what is broken, what we don't like, what doesn't work for us and we just want to say it and have the problem go away. That's natural. We notice what bugs us and it sticks with us. That's built into our physiology—the negativity bias.

However, employees want to work in supportive culture where they receive feedback. Where they have the opportunity to grow and improve. Where they clearly understand what they can do better. Moreover, today's millennial workforce expects constructive feedback with the opportunity to grow and contribute.

So, how do we reconcile this—the desire for constructive feedback and the natural tendency to offer feedback on what we don't like, in a confidential manner?

Most people think getting over this hurdle is insurmountable. "It will take a huge cultural transformation and our company isn't ready for that." "We're not one of those companies where it's expected that you say what needs to be said and it's safe to do so." A leadership development professional I admire said of her former organization, that it is feedback rich; however, it's become "feed-smack" instead of "feedback."

Our answer is that it isn't a herculean effort. It is basic behavioral shifts. They're easy to understand, yet take practice to apply. This is what we do—help organizations change their culture of feedback to be constructive, effective, open and enjoyable. Teaching, practicing, and gaining skill and confidence in providing constructive (not necessarily positive) open feedback in a direct manner is what we can bring to your leaders. Confidential feedback is no longer needed. A supportive culture of growth and development is possible.

Are you ready to meet the expectations of today's workforce? Reach out to Pete and let's have a conversation.