Leaders can only be successful if their teams feel comfortable giving both positive and negative feedback, though that is not always an easy culture to cultivate.
Here are five ways leaders can make their teams feel comfortable giving candid feedback:
1. Assume positive intent.
Give team members the benefit of the doubt and assume they are not trying to judge you with constructive criticism, but help you grow.
2. Talk to your teammates, not about them.
Gossip doesn’t solve problems, it only creates more problems. Have respectful, direct conversations whenever something goes wrong among team members in order to cut down on drama and increase trust.
3. Care about your teammates’ success.
If team members care about each others’ success, they will be more open to share advice they think can help others.
4. Push your teammates to do their best work.
If leaders challenge team members to do their best work, they will reciprocate. Team members will provide truly constructive feedback if they know how badly their leader wants to improve.
5. Ask for personal feedback.
Explicitly giving permission for team members to give feedback is the most straightforward way to let them know leaders are comfortable with honest conversations.