Employee Feedback Goes to the Movies

Written by Bernadette Doré on . Posted in Blog

“Battlefield Earth is like taking a bus trip with someone who has needed a bath for a long time. It’s not merely bad; it’s unpleasant in a hostile way.” –http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/battlefield-earth-2000 

Roger EbertTo each of us who aspire to lead high performing teams, let’s take a moment to remember Roger Ebert and consider offering feedback his way-with clarity, honesty and when possible, humor.  Not that we should strive for Ebertian prose but that we begin the conversation with an understanding that employees deserve feedback that provides enough detailed information so that the observation can be wrestled with long after it is shared.

Tongue and cheek aside, most of us have had enough bad experiences giving and receiving feedback that we often conclude that no one appreciates it or does it well. Some companies have however discovered that engaging critics in creating a solution can alter the otherwise negative dynamics that hamper problem solving.

Maybe the secret really is in the movies. Pixar developed an idea called “Plussing,” which requires that as people criticize the work under review, that criticism must always contain a new idea or suggestions for strengthening the original idea-it must contain a “plus.” “Plussing” allows for “both pointed critique and positive feedback simultaneously,” according to Peter Sims, author of “Little Bets: How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge from Small Discoveries.” The approach builds on the positive by using praises like “I like what you done here what if you also do this.”

Maybe “Plussing” can provide a middle ground for mangers between Ebert’s sometimes prickly directness and the voice of our parent’s lament “that if you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all.”  Thus, making us all part of the solution rather than part of the problem.

For a comprehensive primer on feedback refer to:http://humanresources.about.com/cs/communication/ht/Feedbackimpact.htm

Share your comments about the employee feedback process and let us know how we can partner with you to create more productive communication in your workplace.

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