Specifically, focus on:
- Build trust + safety with belonging cues
- Hold monthly performance-focused 1:1 meetings
- Give training + guidance
A small caveat: These three items alone do not fully address the underlying problems of existing performance reviews (as shared in Chapter 2). However, until you’re able to fully replace your existing traditional performance review system (as described in Chapter 6), these steps can help you start to gain progress in creating a culture of feedback.
Step 1: Build trust + safety with belonging cues
With a traditional performance review system in place, you may be swimming upstream. Your team might feel there is no outlet, no signal, no landing pad for honest helpful feedback. Consequently, it’s all the more important to invest in building trust to show indicators that a culture of feedback matters in your team. Specifically, you can…
- Be forthcoming with your own mistakes. Showing vulnerability as a leader indicates to your team that it’s acceptable to be vulnerable, too. Admitting mistakes you make as a leader says to your team: “We all have areas to improve on.”
- Monitor your own defensiveness when people give you feedback. Your team is taking notes from you on how open you are to receiving feedback as a leader. If you shut feedback down, you signal to them: “I don’t want to hear what you have to say.”
- Show gratitude when people give you feedback + act on it immediately. The positive reinforcement will encourage your team to continue giving that feedback regularly, even despite your traditional performance review process being in place.
Step 2: Hold monthly performance-focused 1:1 meetings
Ideally, you would enable regular peer-to-peer feedback invitations, as described in Chapter 6. When feedback is actively invited versus imposed, and asked for regularly, there is a higher likelihood that the feedback will be internalized and acted upon.
However, as a “hold over” solution, you can still hold regular performance-focused 1:1 meetings once a month. These are dedicated periods of time between you as a leader and your direct report about how you’re both feeling about your performance, and what could improve.
Here’s an example of the agenda for that monthly performance-focused 1:1 meeting…
Personal connection (~10 minutes)
- How is your energy level these days?
Performance feedback (~40 minutes)
- How are you feeling about your own performance lately? What are things you’d like to improve?
- Would you be open to me sharing some performance feedback and opportunities for growth for you?
- Do you mind me sharing a few small observations on what I think could be better?
- Here’s how I’m feeling about my performance these days + what I’d like to improve…
- What about my management style can I improve?
- What aspect of my job do you think I can do better?
Takeaways / next steps (~10 minutes)
You can use our KYT One-on-One tool and template to set-up this recurring performance-focused 1:1 meeting.
Step 3: Give training + guidance
One option is to partner with us here at KYT and dive into our Performance Conversation module. Over the past 8 years, we’ve trained more than 20,000 people around feedback, teamwork, and leadership skills, and have developed a specific set of live training on creating a culture of feedback that is agnostic of the performance review system you have in place.