Feedback is something which we all need to give us perspective on our behavior, how we’re perceived, what we can work on to improve, and how we can help others. One problem is that feedback is usually constrained to performance reviews which happen once or twice a year, or through leadership development programs where a 360 degree assessment might be utilized. The purpose of the open dialogue survey is for individuals at all levels to benefit from the power of receiving open and honest feedback about themselves. There’s nothing fancy about this approach, it’s simply collecting feedback to be worked through by the employee.
Customizing your survey
We designed this survey to ensure that it’s not too laborious for people to complete. We also want them to have the opportunity to be constructive in their comments. We wanted to make sure that we focus on strengths as the major action point. It’s very important to know our weaknesses but where we want to spend our time is developing our strengths.
Food for thought
- Employees at all levels are used to working through feedback from their stakeholders. Before doing this, it’s highly recommended for the employee to sit with their manager and identify some key areas of focus, strengths, and weaknesses. By taking this approach the results will be considered in relation to the development plan discussed and won’t be seen as a reactive part of the process.
- Remember, this is for people who are wanting feedback and development above and beyond what they’re already getting. This should not be used for shaming. Also, this is not a sophisticated 360 survey platform which looks at all of the different respondent groups. It’s simply a way of collecting important information about how you are perceived by your key stakeholders.
- If you plan on using this methodology more broadly, keep in mind that having skilled managers with coaching capabilities is a bonus. If you feel your managers are not very skilled at delivering potentially sensitive feedback, consider partnering with some executive coaches or asking your HR department to support managers when delivering the survey results.
- When people receive feedback for the first time, it can have quite a profound impact on their behaviour. Sometimes this isn’t entirely positive. For this reason, we strongly recommend ensuring the manager and someone from the HR department understands why each employee is seeking feedback and how it will be interpreted.
What to do with the results?
Regardless of where someone is in their personal development journey, feedback from multiple stakeholders will inevitably uncover something that they didn’t know about themselves. It’s critical that when they first hear the feedback they’re supported objectively so the process doesn’t become a damaging experience. The primary purpose of doing such a survey is to increase self-awareness and to enhance relationships. After having some initial time with the information, 1:1 conversations should follow with key stakeholders about what insights were gleaned from the process. It’s in this 1:1 dialogue where new perspectives are shared and new possibilities are formed.