Inability to give Feedback; a symptom of Low Trust in the Workplace

Continuing the process of discussing Low Trust in the Workplace, I wrote a follow up post last week discussing communication issues and their effect on trust.  This all started with another post written a few years ago that broached the low trust issue.

Today’s post will discuss how feedback will make or break trust in your workplace.  In my 35+ years working I have seen the lack of feedback lead to more issues than I can share, and most of them could have been avoided if people would have taken the time to sit down and review what happened if they had addressed an issue shortly after it had occurred.

My approach to feedback goes back to an educational opportunity I had several decades ago with the Center for Creative Leadership-CCL, in Greensboro, NC.  CCL has had a massive impact on my own personal development and I had the good fortune to attend their coaching class where I learned the SBI model, one that I will share with you shortly.

Here is the model I learned at CCL:

  • S-Situation:  What occurred, who was involved and what was the outcome?
  • B-Behavior:  When the situation occurred, describe the behavior of the parties involved
  • I-Impact:  As a result of the situation and the behavior, what impact did it have on those who were involved

The SBI model is simple, but very good at approaching the issues in an event that matter without casting blame.  I cannot tell you how many times I have used SBI to give feedback to others and I have also used it as content in many workshops in my years of providing executive development.

The problem with feedback is this:

  • Many people are afraid to confront others
  • The time between the incident and the feedback is often too long
  • The person being given feedback may not be open to hearing the message
  • The organization may not support an open environment that encourages this type of feedback

Without feedback, issues fester and there are many victims who never have the opportunity to be heard.  In addition, without feedback the amount of trust fostered dwindles and engagement drops.  Low trust leads to low engagement and turnover is then a symptom that results.

Feedback is a dish that doesn’t always taste good, but it is one that provide long-lasting nourishment.

My charge to you is to serve feedback to those you work with and also be willing to hear the feedback of others.

Should you do so, the trust level in your organization will improve and the health of your organization will remain positive.