Feedback: A Review for the Executive Team

WRITTEN February 3, 2021 Author: Mark Fogel

Great improvements can result from feedback.

Feedback provides an outside viewpoint and fills the gaps in our own perspective. Senior executives often ignore the need for assessment, claiming to be too busy or too experienced to receive it.

Performance-related feedback needs to be a part of every job, even at the C-suite level. 

Good managers consistently monitor employee performance and provide them with the direction they need to produce impactful results. Great managers are open to receiving feedback and making the changes to maximize results.

It is a two-way street.

Manager-to-employee feedback is the standard, we all expect it. Things may get dicey when a peer, or even a subordinate, comments on the job performance of the manager.

Feedback from a peer or subordinate can get misconstrued and come across as condescending or just out of line. “That person isn’t my boss, why are they telling me how to do my job?”

It may also be considered taboo in the company culture for a senior executive to receive constructive criticism from a coworker or subordinate. This often arises when it is a top-down business, where authority is determined by a spot on the organizational chart.

In reality, the people who work alongside you every day are an excellent source of feedback. They have insight into how you work, and that perspective may be different from your higher-up boss. That boss may assign and monitor projects, but it is the coworker and the employee who collaborate with you on the daily tasks important to the overall operation of the organization. 

Regardless of the culture and dynamics of an organization, there are ways to invite colleagues to participate in your performance evaluation. One process is known as a 360-degree or multi-rater feedback which collects input from staff at multiple levels and aggregates it into a well-rounded assessment for executives. 

One of the many benefits from using this 360 Assessment is that it provides a way to bypass some of that senior-level awkwardness and get down to the feedback that can be used to improve relationships and increase productivity. 

Feedback is effective as part of a larger performance management strategy. Executives know what their job is and they know how they are expected to conduct themselves. Being open to feedback, and aligning with those expectations, is a benefit for everyone involved.  

Can I Offer Direct Feedback To My Coworker?

So, why is a specific process is required for someone to share feedback with a coworker or supervisor? Everyone is used to real-time feedback from managers, shouldn’t people be professional enough to listen to a well-intentioned remark from a colleague?

The reality is that comments (especially negative ones) from a coworker are rarely well-received. Even a compliment does not always end up being constructive. These occasional critiques are often praise or criticism, with no middle ground. It is rare that a peer sharing feedback tells the recipient what they did well and where they stand to improve. 

This type of critique can be reactive and in the moment, so it lacks a solution or vision going forward. People tend to be more open to constructive feedback when the entire situation is considered. They appreciate when specific examples of how they can avoid pitfalls the next time are included.

The most difficult scenario is when a comment from a coworker stems from self-interest. Instead of a concern to help their colleague to improve at their job, it comes from a place of “make my job easier” or “help me look better.” If this motivation is transparent, the person on the receiving end will never take the feedback to heart. So be careful.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay 

Learn more about Improving Communications 360-degree programs and services – Contact Mark Fogel, our Human Resource Strategist or visit our website for additional information.

Other Resources:

5 Reasons Why Feedback is Important

What to Do When Asked to Give Feedback on My Manager’s Performance (With 11 Examples)

How to give constructive criticism to your manager and coworkers.

Stay Connected

Subscribe to the IC weekly newsletter for tips and advice on your communication skills!

Public Classes

Effective communication is empowering. Get started on your path to being more clear, brief, and effective.

Upcoming Classes