A reader writes:
I’d like to know your thoughts about a new “best practice” that is about to be implemented in the department I work for.
Some days ago, our manager and team leaders sent us an online survey asking our opinion about the best way to get feedback about our work and work habits. 100% voted to get feedback and 70% voted to get one-on-one feedback. But in our last meeting, team leaders explained the dynamic to get feedback: people would form two lines facing each other and then one person would give feedback to the person they are facing. Or get the team together and every member would get a “group feedback.”
I’m not really confortable with that. If I’m screwing up, I’d appreciate feedback telling me what I am doing wrong. But I’d like to have this talk in private with my manager and/or team leader, not getting exposed in front of the whole team. I don’t even feel comfortable being praised in public!
What do you think about this situation? If “group feedback” is actually a good idea, what would be the best way to handle it?
What the hell?
Seriously, you have to stand in a line across from each other and then give feedback to the person who happens to be across from you? It sounds like some sort of catty teenage girl ritual where you all tell each other what you don’t like about each other and then there’s crying and yelling.
I have so many questions:
- Where is your manager in all this?
- Why did she need to take a freaking survey to find out that people want to get feedback on their work?
- Why is the idea of getting feedback up for a vote? If people had voted against feedback, would the manager have gone along with not giving feedback?
- Why isn’t your manager already giving people feedback — in private, one-on-one — which is one of the most basic functions of a manager?
- Is your manager going to crowdsource all the other pieces of her jobs too? Will you play Red Rover to decide who works on which project? Will you vote on who gets a raise this year?
Look, there’s a place for getting feedback from people on your team who aren’t your manager. But you do that individually and with some dignity, and it sure as hell doesn’t replace feedback from your manager.
Something is wrong with your manager.
I hope you and your coworkers will tell her that you’re not at all okay with this plan, and that you want to handle feedback like normal professionals, meaning in private, as part of a discussion with her, and not while standing in a line. (Or maybe you can tell her that you’ve taken another vote and she’s out.)
This is absurd.