One of the most common causes of safety incidents is when people fail to ask questions. The same is true for training programs when learners are uncomfortable asking questions to fully understand a topic. In fact, you can link a lot of business issues to one key behaviour – the ability to Give and Receive Feedback Respectfully for Leaders and Co-workers. People excel in their abilities when they feel comfortable asking questions and they receive great feedback. So why is it so tough for us to create this sort of environment? The answer lies in some balance between the perspectives of Leaders and Co-Workers.
“Leaders” is a broad term that covers from the head of the organization to the supervisors and co-workers who help teach and coach others. Leaders are accountable to make it comfortable and easy for people to ask them questions and exchange feedback. Here are some tips.
· Make it Easy to Speak Up – sometimes you may need to provide personal examples of your own challenges when you should have asked questions. Being vulnerable can help others see you as someone they can trust to ask their own questions and provide feedback.
· Treat Feedback as an Opportunity to Learn – acting as a leader is hard and you are going to make mistakes. You’ll miss seeing some perspectives, or fail to fully explain requirements. When someone has the courage to ask questions and give you feedback, remember to say thanks and provide a clear response, where you explain why certain actions are required.
· Set Appropriate Boundaries – make sure you are clear about boundaries, so co-workers and employees do not become too dependent and just defer questions to you rather than making their own decisions. Teach and support people to build their competencies to work more independently.
· Be Consistent – if the questions and feedback relate to procedures or practices shared by other leaders, it is critical that your answers are consistent, to avoid confusing and frustrating the ones asking the questions.
· Be Respectful – it is ok to disagree and debate topics if we are always respectful and willing to look at all sides of an issue before setting a direction.
This group includes anyone working with someone else, where you may need direction or be able to exchange feedback.
· Think it through before asking or confirming – there is nothing wrong with asking questions if you genuinely do not know something, particularly if it is a critical topic that could jeopardize safety or another important aspect of the business.
· Build your competencies – ask why things are done in a certain way so you can build your understanding and skills to work more confidently and independently.
· Be Respectful – when you have questions and feedback, understand that other people may not have the same priorities or the same perspective. Be respectful and open to listen to other perspectives and their feedback as well.
Building the skills required to Give and Receive Feedback Respectfully from the perspectives of Leaders and Co-Workers, is essential to a safe, productive, and enjoyable work environment.