Direct feedback is the most efficient way for people to understand their impact on others in working relationships — but few of us realize that interpersonal feedback is as much a product of the surrounding culture as of the relationship itself. To cultivate a culture conducive to feedback:
• Start small. We miss opportunities to provide positive feedback every day because we think only big wins merit discussion. When you see any behavior you want to encourage, acknowledge it and express appreciation.
• Make it OK to say no. A risk in feedback-rich cultures is that people feel obligated to say “Of course” when asked, “Can I give you some feedback?” If people feel free to postpone such conversations when they’re not ready to have them, they’ll feel respected and be more willing to listen when the conversations do take place.
Adapted from “Building a Feedback-Rich Culture” by Ed Batista.