When feedback is delivered the order that most people naturally adopt is:
3. Reflect and discuss
4. Possibly do over
The sequence that practice should generally follow is:
3. Do over (re-practice incorporating the feedback)
4. Possibly repeat the practice multiple times.
This simple difference has a major impact. In the first order we have people discussing the feedback before they implement it. This discussion by necessity will consist of presumptions about the feedback since it has not been tested yet. You will simply be dealing with the receiver of the feedback’s reaction to the feedback. This can actually result in the feedback not been implemented at all.
Waiting until the feedback has been implemented, possibly multiple times before reflecting leads to a much more fruitful reflection. Now we have something real to reflect on, whether or not the feedback worked.
So rather than engage in an immediate discussion about the feedback move straight from feedback to action. Any objections should be responded to in a way that delays discussion until after it is implemented, for example: “OK, you might be right. Try it first and we’ll see.”
Apply First, Then Reflect
- Reflection, while helpful, can get in the way of practice which is much more important. Ask people to apply feedback first, then reflect on it.
- Applying feedback first and then reflecting gives you more information on the value of the feedback which makes the time spent reflecting much more useful.
1. Setting Clear Goals
Inner work life is improved when employees know what direction they need to move towards and why the work they do is important.
2. Allowing autonomy
Once the broad goals are set employees need to have some influence over how they meet those goals in order to be intrinsically motivated and to truly own the progress that is made towards meeting those goals.
3. Providing Resources
Providing resources has two major impacts on inner work life. It both allows the employee to have a stronger belief that the work will be a success and it also indicates that management values the work they are doing.
4. Giving enough time – but not too much
Low to moderate time pressure is optimal to inner work life. Too much and employees become stressed, unhappy and unmotivated, too little and people feel unchallenged and bored.
5. Help with the work
Employees become dejected when they need help and can’t get it, frustrated when help could be given but is withheld by someone important such as managers at any level and infuriated when it seems that someone is actively getting in the way of their work. On the other hand getting the right sort of help, from the right people, at the right time, can give a great boost to inner work life.
6. Learning from problems and successes
Problems should be faced head on, studied and solved or learned from. Ignoring problems or punishing people for having problems both have a detrimental impact to inner work life. Studying and celebrating successes also improves inner work life. When success is ignored or its value is questioned inner work life is negatively effected.
7. Allowing ideas to flow
Managers need to truly listen to their employees, encourage different opinions and respectful debate of those opinions.
Progress and Inner Work Life feed each other in a virtuous cycle.
The progress loop is a secret weapon of high performance companies; it produces powerful benefits for both managers and employees.
Consistent daily progress by each employee propels the company towards achieving its goals and also improves the quality of inner work life for the employees involved in the progress. Progress feeds growth in the positive inner work life of your employees. Growth in positive inner work life then feeds further progress.
To benefit from this powerful tool you must ensure that consistent forward momentum in work that has meaning to your employees is a regular experience for them.
As a manager you must keep the progress loop in motion by constantly helping employees to progress and remove obstacles in the way of that progress.
Managers should make sure that employees just how their work is contributing. And, most importantly, managers should avoid actions that take away from the value of the work.
A persons belief in the importance of their work is lost in four ways:
- Leaders or Coworkers dismissing/ignoring a persons work or ideas.
- Managers acting in a way that removes a persons sense of ownership of their work.
- Managers making employees doubt that their work will ever be used, which leads to employees thinking their work is a waste of time since it will never be implemented.
- Asking an employee to do work that is well below their capabilities.
All of these things must be avoided and their must be consistent communication with employees tying their work to the success of the group.
In order for the progress principle to come into play the work been done must be meaningful. Simply making progress getting things done doesn’t guarantee good inner work life if the things getting done are not important or meaningful to the person doing them.
This desire for meaningful work creates the foundation for the progress principle. It is progress in meaningful work that triggers the sense of accomplishment and other positive perceptions, emotions and motivations that make up excellent inner work life.
What is Meaningful Work?
To be meaningful what matters is whether the person doing the work perceives their work to be contributing value to something or someone who matters (even their team, themselves or their family etc.)
It can simply be making a useful and high quality product for the customer or providing a genuine service for their community,
What can you do to create a strong sense of belonging within your organization?
- Lead with an inspirational mission and purpose that aligns and creates an emotional connection with all employees.
- Encode and live by a strong set of values that guide both business and interpersonal behaviors. Emphasize things like respect, collaboration and fun.
- Set the expectation and train your leaders to be champions of your purpose and exemplars of your values. Teach them how to be open, available and inclusive.
- Immediately and decisively deal with behavior that is not in line with your values, especially if it occurs with someone in a leadership position.
- Know and respect all employees as complete individuals with their own personal relationships, interests and challenges.
- Communicate openly and inclusively, particularly regarding business or organizational issues that have the potential to adversely affect employees.
- Encourage positive social connection and enjoyment in the workplace.
- Provide vehicles and opportunities for all employees to have a voice.