9.15.17 Issue #810 info@mckenziemgmt.com 1-877-777-6151 Forward This Newsletter

5 Tips to Help You Turn Feedback into Practice Growth
By Sally McKenzie, CEO

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Feedback can do a lot of good for a practice. When team members know what they’re doing right and how it contributes to practice success, they’re motivated to keep doing it. And when they know what areas they can improve in, they’re able to make positive changes that lead to real practice growth.

Continual feedback gives your team members the guidance they need to succeed, but it’s only effective if they take action. If they blow it off, it won’t do them or the practice any good.

I want to make sure feedback leads to growth in your practice. That’s why I’ve put together a few tips to help ensure feedback never goes to waste, and that you take full advantage of this practice-growing opportunity.

1. Make sure team members understand constructive comments aren’t criticism. Once you start routinely giving feedback, you’ll soon find that some team members take it better than others. It can be difficult for people to find out they’re doing something wrong, and some just aren’t interested in hearing anything but praise.

To get past this, I suggest you talk with team members about how they respond to constructive comments. Ask them to really think about how they react when someone makes a suggestion that’s meant to help them improve, and then have them answer these questions:

- Am I defensive?
- Do I take the comments as a personal attack?
- Do my feelings get hurt?
- Do I become angry when someone recommends I do something differently?
- Do I dismiss feedback if it comes from someone I don’t like?

It’s also important to remind team members not to take feedback personally, but to instead look at it as what it is: an opportunity to grow. They have to separate themselves from the action, and understand everyone is doing what they can to help move the practice forward. 

2. Ask questions. Team members should never shrug off feedback, whether it comes from you or one of their co-workers. They might be tempted to chalk the comments up to someone having a bad day, or tell themselves the co-workers have no idea what they’re talking about, making it ok to ignore the suggestions. Instead, train team members to ask questions so they better understand exactly where the other person is coming from. I also suggest they set up a time to sit down and discuss the situation. That way, they can calmly work together to develop a plan to address it. 

3. Create a culture that encourages feedback. How? I suggest you start by telling team members to actually ask for feedback. The more feedback team members receive, the more comfortable they’ll be with it. They’ll also learn a lot about how they can improve their performance. Co-workers will point out bad habits or inefficiencies they had no idea existed, giving them the opportunity to make positive change. Once your employees embrace feedback and understand how it can help them, they’ll really start to blossom.

I recommend encouraging your employees to offer feedback as well. All too often, team members hold back comments or suggestions because they’re worried about offending their co-workers. They shouldn’t be. As long as feedback is constructive and delivered politely, sharing it will help others improve as professionals – which of course benefits the practice. When employees keep quiet, it only serves to hurt the practice in the long run.

4. Take notes. To help them remember, employees should write down all the feedback they receive – but they shouldn’t stop there. Encourage them to come up with three to five steps they can take to start making changes. This exercise will force them to really think about the feedback and take action.

5. Say thank you. Even if they don’t agree with the comments made, team members should always thank anyone who offers feedback. Remind them this person has taken time out of their day to try and help them improve. Don’t be annoyed; be grateful.  

It can be difficult for some people to hear constructive feedback, but it’s important for your team members to take any suggestions they receive seriously and use them to make positive change. This will lead to a stronger team and more profitable practice. And of course don’t forget about positive feedback. When team members are praised for a job well done, whether it comes from you or a co-worker, they’re more likely to not only maintain that level of performance, but surpass it. And when that happens, you’ll start meeting, even exceeding, practice goals and achieving success.

For additional information on this topic and more, visit my blog: The Lighter Side

Interested in speaking to me about your practice concerns? Email sallymck@mckenziemgmt.com
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