Work Feedback – Anonymous

For all the reasons I posted last week about anonymous feedback for conferences, I find work anonymous feedback to be…I’m just going to say it…EVIL.

The concept in theory of anonymous 360 feedback is you get a complete and honest view of the perception of yourself.  That’s great, what do you do with that?  Wouldn’t you rather hear something like “you’re too direct and confrontational” from someone that is demonstrating an interest and willingness to help you overcome this behavior and/or perception?

The times that I have seen this play out, I (and many others) spend lots of creative energy finding reasons why this feedback is not legit, finding ways to protect my feelings, and/or finding ways to retaliate.   Sure, judge away but this is the fight or flight response.  As a leader, our responsibility is to minimize this natural response to create the best environment for a person to be able to grow.   How is shocking people the best environment?

Let’s face it…getting feedback is tough.  For anything tough, it’s great to have a support system.  Here are some things as a leader you can do instead:

    • Own the feedback that the person needs to hear.  The “i heard” feedback or “someone said” feedback is not going to produce high performing results.  Instead, give them an opportunity to discuss it with you in depth.  What is their intentions?  What is the results?  What are examples?
    • Support them as they work through it.  If you see an occurrence, give them immediate feedback.  If you see improved changes, give them appreciation.
    • Help others learn how to give direct feedback in a productive way.  Collaborative environments are built from trust and relationships.  If the only person they get feedback about their team interactions is from their manager, something is wrong!  I know we want people to feel comfortable to talk to us about problems but our goal shouldn’t be to solve the issue for them.
    • Walk the walk.  Request feedback directly from people.  It’s amazing what you will learn by simply asking.

Now maybe they still don’t accept the feedback directly from you or their teammates, then exploring whether this person is a fit needs to occur.  What’s important is that you gave them a chance, a supportive chance to grow instead of throwing them in the deep end to see if they sink or swim.

Does your workplace promote anonymous feedback?

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