In today’s rapidly changing environment, continuous improvement has become an essential process for organisations to master if they are to keep pace with competitors and secure a competitive advantage. We all know the importance of staff suggestion schemes, innovation days and process improvement, and most businesses today will have various programs implemented to drive the improvement of products, services and delivery, but what about the continuous improvement of your people?
For continuous improvement to become truly part of your business culture, and part of the everyday psyche for each employee, continuous improvement of self must also be discussed and recognised. Often it is too easy to think about the widgets we make and the environment we work in, and far too confronting to look at our own performance and skills, or ask our teams to look at theirs.
It sounds easy. However we all know that asking team members to look in the mirror and identify improvements can be challenging, so creating an environment where this is recognised, celebrated and comfortable is a key skill for leaders to master. Creating a culture where feedback is sought and valued is the most effective path to self improvement. Most team members find it hard to self-evaluate (if they knew how to do things better they usually would), so providing on-going positive and constructive feedback provides your team with a set of objective eyes to develop their skills and performance. This helps the team to develop and improve their skills on a day to day basis, and sits alongside your formal performance review system.
If your team isn’t used to receiving regular day-to-day feedback we recommend starting small, ask their permission and make a suggestion on an improvement area you have noticed. Keep it specific and focused so your team members know exactly what you mean, and how they can improve.
By being positive and developmental focused your team members will be more open to your feedback. Keep your feedback specific and make sure they know exactly what they did well, and what impact this had on the business. Focus the conversation on development, use open positive body language and encourage them to view feedback as an opportunity for growth. Constructive feedback is best done in private, and the best time for honest and open reflection is as soon as possible after an event has occurred.
You know you’ve got it right when your team start to ask for feedback. This is when they really have embraced continuous improvement and development as a key philosophy.
We know this can be a difficult part of a Managers role, so don’t expect it to fall into place overnight. Providing day-to-day feedback which is effective and helps to grow your team and business takes practice. There is no better time to start than today.
Positive People have 21 years of experience helping leaders to provide effective feedback and create high performing cultures. Call us on 445-1077.