Feedback in Crisis: Marketing and Management
During a crisis such as the coronaviruses, teamwork comes first, one of the most important features in teamwork is communication among members. A team is only as good as its communication; misunderstandings can cause a huge amount of extra work and lost time. When managing a team, focus on giving constructive feedback, briefing thoroughly, and dealing effectively with conflict.
First: listen effectively
Studies show that adults now spend more than half of their daily communication time listening to someone else speak. As a manager, being able to listen effectively and understand others is at the heart of creating a team that performs to the best of its ability.
Why listening is important in crisis?
Listening is a skill you acquire naturally but can improve upon if you’re motivated to do so. The first step toward becoming a better listener is, surprisingly, to stop: you need to stop talking, stop trying to carry on more than one conversation and stop interrupting. Let the other person speak. As others are talking, allow yourself to respond cognitively and emotionally, taking in the factual information and the tone of their remarks, without responding. Then ask carefully thought-out questions that will clarify what they have said and reassure you of its basis in fact.
Remember just because you want to hear something doesn’t mean it is what the speaker is actually saying. It is all too easy to fall into the trap of selective hearing, so make sure that you listen to everything that the speaker is telling you.
Getting the feedback message
Start by trying to see things from the speaker’s point of view, and let your actions demonstrate this. Show interest with your body language: look the speaker in the eyes and maintain an open and non-threatening posture. Give the speaker physical signs of your undivided attention: close the door, hold your calls, and put aside whatever you’re working on. Listen carefully to how something is said: look out for hints of sarcasm, cynicism, or irony in what you hear. Try to tune in to the speaker’s mood and intention. Communication is a shared responsibility, so it is up to you to ensure that you understand the message. Once you have listened to what a person has to say and clarified anything you’re not sure of, evaluate the facts and evidence. Ask yourself whether the evidence is recent, reliable, accurate, and relevant.
What should you do to listen effectively?
- listening regularly to difficult material to hone your listening ability
- giving your full and undivided attention to the speaker
- listening to the argument in the speaker’s terms, and in the order he or she wishes to follow
- focusing on the reasons for the speaker’s approach and discussion
- What shouldn’t you do for effective listening?
- assuming that everything interesting should be provided in written form
- pretending to listen while actually doing something else
- criticizing the speaker’s delivery and interrupting the flow of what they are saying to ask questions
- assuming you already know what the issue is and how to resolve it
- Second: getting effective feedback
- Good feedback doesn’t just happen.
It is the product of careful, deliberate communication strategies, coupled with good interpersonal communication skills. You can significantly increase the probability that the feedback you give helps others improve by understanding the role of feedback in both personal and professional settings. Feedback is vital to any organization committed to improving itself, because it is the only way for managers to know what needs to be improved. Giving and receiving feedback should be more than just a part of an employee’s behavior; it should be a part of the whole organization’s culture. Because remote working in this pandemic for many is new, there are also new reasons to give feedback. Now is the time to think about giving more feedback about collaborative working, recognizing small contributions that employees make and championing adjustments that team members are making for their new work routines. And the expectations you used to assess performance in the office aren’t as relevant anymore, so feedback should be focused more on results with increased flexibility towards how they are delivered. Aim to create positive loops of feedback and performance that keep motivation high. Celebrate the small things.
Few tips to give practical feedback
Providing constructive, useful feedback involves more than simply responding to people as they speak to you. Consider the context in which the communication takes place, people’s intentions as they speak (or choose not to speak), and your objectives as a manager.
Wait then act
Before your next one-on-one, pause to reflect before giving feedback. If you’re stressed or rushed, you’re more likely to deliver feedback without compassion or empathy — even if that’s unintentional.
Focus on Behavior
If you are giving negative feedback, defuse any hostility and minimize the fear felt by the other person by depersonalizing the conversation: focus your comments on the behavior involved, not the people.
Give both Positive and Negative Feedback
People are more likely to pay attention to your complaints if they have also received your compliments. It is important to remember to tell people when they have done something well.
Language is very Important
Not everyone has the same understanding of language, and certain words, phrases, or terms that mean one thing to a manager may mean something very different to a person receiving feedback. It is important, therefore, that the language used for feedback is acceptable to the person being spoken to and appropriate for the circumstances. The words used must be clearly understood and agreed upon by both parties. Acronyms or company jargon are only acceptable if it is clear that both parties know what they mean.
Successful managers make sure they know whether the person they are giving feedback to shares the same frame of reference they do, avoid language that will cause confusion, and choose words that are universally understood.
Get the Timing right
Before deciding to offer feedback, decide whether the moment is right for both people involved. Constructive feedback can happen only within the context of listening to and caring about the other person. If the time isn’t right, if the moment isn’t appropriate, you can always delay briefly before offering your thoughts. HBR
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