Feed-Forward Culture Builds Shared Engagement and Trust

2 min read

-By Dr. Cheri Rainey

Engagement as a shared responsibility is the next topic and the “E” in our Rainey Leadership Learning “REAAL” alignment strategy series.

Employee engagement is a hot topic—and for good reason. It directly affects relationships and the bottom line. One important aspect of engagement is feedback. All of us want to know what is expected of us AND how to gauge when, and how well, we achieve the expectations. Therefore, feedback is essential to creating clarity, engagement, and trust. 

A culture of feedback lays a level playing field, on which all can participate to have a voice in designing one’s own success. Leaders operate with the importance of creating work relationships based on trust, kindness, and open communication.

When leaders understand that engagement is a shared responsibility between leaders and employees, they experience a sense of equity and increased trust between themselves and employees. Employees experience increased autonomy, as well as personal accountability that contributes to their own career and ability to thrive.  

So, how does “shared responsibility” for engagement work?

Sometimes a leader may delay providing feedback. This could result from many different reasons: lack of time, misunderstanding about the importance of providing feedback, an employee’s sensitivity to receiving corrective feedback, or in some cases, the leader’s dislike of enforcing rules or avoidance of holding people accountable. Whatever the reason, delayed feedback often erodes trust and contributes to miscommunication, as well as failed outcomes.

For example, research shows that receiving, as well as giving feedback, can feel threatening to the brain. Yet, asking for feedback feels rewarding. In a culture where feedback is a shared responsibility, it is important for the leader to build the foundation and create a Feed-Forward Culture.

STEP 1: Set the stage for giving and receiving feedback before situations call for it; discuss with your team the value of feedback to create mutual clarity of expectations.

STEP 2: Establish and foster essential communication processes and systems that encourage kindness, combined with timely, straight-forwardness. Sync-up meetings support engagment.

STEP 3: Provide important structures by scheduling regular times each month for short, connected, Sync-up meetings with exchanges of mutual feedback. Each person—leader and employee— prepares for the brief meeting in advance.

Brain-Friendly Feed-Forward Synch-Up

The brief, Sync-up Meeting is a simple system that all leaders and teams can implement. Schedule 30-minutes to ask two brain-friendly questions of each other (using the wording below):

What am I doing well? What might I do EVEN better?

Implement a feed-forward culture of feedback to provide Clarity of Mutual Expectations, create Engagement as a Shared Responsibility, and increase Trust. Enjoy the process and watch the results.

Would you like to be a better leader? Contact us about leadership training that can advance your career and business.

Dr. Cheri Rainey is the CEO/Founder of Rainey Leadership Learning, partnering with leaders to support the entire employee life cycle.