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external feedback

Why should you look for external feedback for your teams?

Employees are the backbone of any organization and must be kept happy and motivated. But keeping employees content can be daunting, especially if your team isn’t regularly given feedback that is relevant to their work. That’s where external feedback comes in—a powerful tool that can help keep your employees on track and improve their performance. But how do you ensure you get the most out of your efforts? You typically look for feedback from the employees themselves, right? However, there’s much more that you can do! Such as looking for external feedback. Read on to find out.

What is external feedback?

The importance of feedback for managers and leaders is well recognized. Providing feedback brings multiple benefits for both teams and managers. While internal feedback loops offer plenty of insights that managers can use to overcome typical team challenges, they might need to pay more attention to some issues. External feedback helps identify the gaps that internal feedback might miss for several reasons.

External feedback simply refers to feedback that comes from outside your team. It can include feedback from peers who are not a part of your team, your coaches and mentors, or people you interact with in the course of work who do not belong to your organization. It typically focuses on your performance and problem-solving abilities. External feedback from a coach can help you draw an objective picture of your performance and reinforce improvements as and when needed.

External feedback covers the same areas as internal feedback. However, it can provide some additional benefits too. In the next section, we will understand the importance of seeking external feedback for managers and leaders.

The importance of external feedback

The importance of feedback cannot be overstated. Even though many teams know the importance of feedback, they might fail to use it effectively. The inability of a manager to provide or receive feedback severely hurts their teams’ prospects. External input helps teams identify gaps in knowledge and skills, which you can address through training or mentorship programs. It allows you to maintain objectivity while providing valuable information. Building a culture of feedback is also essential for team success, so start today and gain these benefits from external feedback:

  • Get a different perspective on viewing the same problem. An altogether different perspective might help you chart better solutions that are simpler and easier to implement.
  • Take the opinions of experts who have provided solutions too. External feedback from coaches and mentors who are extensively engaged with you or your team will help you find better solutions. They will also help you develop solutions and provide inputs for the same.
  • You can keep learning continuously with the help of external feedback. An attitude of continuous learning is essential for managers and leaders who want to achieve more constantly.
  • External feedback is vital because of its key feature: freedom from biases. The external observer will generally be free from biases that affect performance reviews given by managers, such as the idiosyncratic rater bias. It will help you get objective feedback about every aspect of your team.
  • At times, team members can hide in plain sight. They might do the bare minimum and end up isolated otherwise. Managers can fail to identify such cases once they become routine. But an external reviewer can see those with much more clarity and point out team members who may be disengaging from work, helping you reduce attrition.

How to get the most out of external feedback for your team?

Getting external feedback for your team is essential for their development. By looking for ways to get external feedback, you will improve the quality of your work and create a more positive environment. There are various ways to get external feedback — through surveys, interviews, focus groups, and more. The best way to choose the suitable method is to identify the need and purpose of the feedback.

Additionally, ensure you are comfortable with the people you will be working with and trust their judgement. Once you have identified the right methods and individuals, begin the process of gathering feedback. It may take some time, but the benefits will be worth it in the end.

Making the most of feedback is just as important as getting it. Here are a few things that you should keep in mind to generate feedback that helps you improve substantially:

 Ask the right questions

Feedback begins with questions. While it is the answers that reveal mysteries, the questions prompt them. Therefore, giving ample attention to the questions you will be asking in the external feedback is important. If you are going to have an external feedback survey, you will have to ensure that the questions are comprehensible and engaging for all observers. Otherwise, their attention may wander, reducing the quality of the review.

On the other hand, if you seek a review from a leadership coach or mentor, you can ask more detailed questions. They can provide detailed performance reviews and curated suggestions for individuals too. All in all, remember that the questions you ask can generate satisfactory answers to the questions in your mind. In doing so, emphasize honest answers.

Choose the right person to seek feedback from

The most critical aspect of gathering feedback is the person who provides it. It’s crucial to choose someone who you trust and respect. However, this doesn’t mean you should automatically pick a close friend or family member. Instead, go for individuals with different points of view, as this will give an accurate picture of any issues at hand. You need to be comfortable accepting your flaws and weaknesses in front of them if you are seeking close guidance.

Additionally, ensure that the individual has enough experience to offer sound judgment on your work performance. Lastly, ensure they are available when needed; external feedback can be time-consuming and require concentration. Hence, you must choose your coach and build a great rapport with them.

If you are looking for external feedback for your entire team, you can also engage the clients you work with. Your clients can offer their opinion on your team’s work and cohesiveness once they have worked with you long enough. They might provide ideas to enhance the efficiency and resilience of your processes.

Go with a plan

When gathering feedback, it’s essential to have a plan in mind. Too often, we jump into the process without clear objectives. It can lead to chaotic and ineffective feedback sessions. Prioritize your goals for the session by outlining what you want to learn or accomplish from the feedback. Once these objectives are set, ensure everyone knows about them and understands why they are important. Write down any questions that might arise during the session to effectively dialogue with your coach or mentor.

Create a loop to track progress.

One of the best methods for tracking progress is to create a feedback loop. In a nutshell, this system helps you track your progress and learn from your mistakes objectively and transparently. To create a feedback loop, start by setting up regular feedback sessions. It will need you to collaborate extensively with your leadership coach or mentor over a period so that they can help you identify improvements and pick out areas that have constantly been stagnating.

After regular feedback sessions, keep track of the outcomes and learning in a journal or notebook. It will help you track your progress, identify potential problems early on, and devise solutions accordingly. Using this system, you can increase efficiency and improve team cohesion through reliable feedback tailored to each individual’s needs. Managers can furthermore take one-on-one sessions with their teammates to guide them better. In total, it will help foster a conducive atmosphere for continuous learning.

Finally, act on it!

The importance of taking feedback is well-recognized. But feedback, whether external or internal, will remain ineffective if it is not put into action. Make sure you take the input and lessons from your feedback sessions seriously and put them into practice as soon as possible. Doing so will help improve your skills exponentially in no time.

When you act on ideas generated through external feedback, you will need to engage with your team to get them on the same page. Introducing changes becomes more accessible when the whole team understands their rationale and acts with a collaborative spirit. Hence, once you have collected external feedback, it is time to brainstorm with your team and draw up strategies to improve.

Conclusion

External feedback is a necessary process that can help you improve the quality of work performed by your team. You can identify and address issues by getting feedback from outside sources before they become significant problems. However, getting external feedback can be challenging; it takes time, effort, and coordination. Consider all critical areas when achieving the most out of external feedback sessions. Revisit for more helpful lessons on making management and leadership effectiveness.

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