While at a local government recently I asked a senior member of the team if he had gotten any professional feedback from his manager lately. The person said they wanted feedback from management but hadn’t gotten any in a very long time. I was surprised to learn this and, curious, asked what kind of feedback he wanted. The answer was simple and powerful.
“I just want to know if I’m on track with what’s expected and to hear if there are other ways I can contribute or improve.”
It saddens me, but I am convinced, that there is a ton of untapped human potential being bottled up due to a lack of simple, regular feedback with team members.
Many local governments use external and internal survey feedback and annual employee appraisal feedback. But, there’s another kind of feedback that I think we need more of in local government – it’s to build a culture of regularly scheduled feedback.
We encourage local governments to put in place a simple 3-point employee feedback habit called “Same As, More of, Less of“: (often called SaMoLo). Here are the 3 points.
- Same As
- Share with the employee the things you want to see the “same as” from them; these are things they do well and things you want them to keep doing at the same rate…like being positive in the office or being innovative in their department.
- More Of
- Share with the employee the things you what to see more of from them; share 2-3 specific areas they have potential for, but just need to do more often. Things you’ve seen them do but you want more of….like taking initiative on projects or asking for help on major projects.
- Less Of
- Share with the employee the things you want to see less of from them; share 2-3 things that they are doing that hurt the team, productivity or morale….like less gossip or less complaining about things in front of others.
Here are some simple best practices for this intentional feedback habit:
- Take 20 minutes before your session to document notes, concerns for each area. Be specific and give examples of things they’ve done in each area. That keeps it objective.
- Be sure to explain how the employee’s actions negatively or positively affect the organization and citizens.
- Intentional feedback should be conducted quarterly.
- Target 20-30 minutes for each person’s feedback.
- Feedback should always be done in private.
- Let the person you are giving feedback to know that you also will be receiving feedback from your Manager but that you also welcome feedback from them. Then give them time to share ideas or later if they need some time to formulate their ideas.
- Insure your Directors are also providing SaMoLo feedback to their Managers and Supervisors.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is that feedback is really about caring for the other person success and for the health of the team. If we really care about a person’s growth and well-being we will have these kinds of conversations regularly. Keeping concerns and encouragement bottled up only helps maintain the status quo.
If your local government team needs help better executing on its strategic plans, please call us at (678) 833-4310 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.