Whether formal or informal, positive or negative, feedback from a colleague or supervisor can clue a worker in where they stand in terms of performance. Regular assessments are particularly essential when workers are exhibiting troubling attitudes or behaviours. The assessment process may not be complete unless you give constructive feedback to help them improve.
The same applies to creative brainstorming. Depending on your corporate culture, this process can be a tricky affair. The specific people you bring in can affect the entire atmosphere of your workplace. And the results you’re likely to get from either the performance assessment process or a creative brainstorming process. Personality clashes and different engagement levels can lead to things getting too political for a creative session.
In this case, it is your duty to handle these problems and facilitate a productive mood. The key to making every participant in the room feel appreciated is giving constructive feedback on their ideas and performance. It encourages them to participate in various performance assessments and creative brainstorming sessions.
What is considered constructive feedback?
Constructive feedback on ideas is a balanced blend of praise for achievement and important suggestions for improvement. To successfully break through mental barriers to creativity within your organisation, it is important to cultivate a corporate culture that encourages transparency and creativity. This only happens when your team’s contribution feels valued.
That means how you deliver feedback matters. If you focus on the negative aspects only, your team members will feel their input is not valued. This will create self-doubts, and they will be thinking twice before they can contribute to anything. Such a work environment is the exact opposite of what you crave.
On the other hand, failure to give feedback means that your teams will never find out how their ideas and innovations are perceived. To make it easy for you to frame and deliver constructive feedback on ideas, here are important tips you should know.
3 top tips for giving constructive feedback on ideas
1. Award each idea with equal weight
Not every idea is going to transform your company. However, sharing ideas during creative sessions has the potential to take your brand nearly anywhere. Even if some of the ideas are impractical, they can inspire critical thoughts. For this reason, it makes sense to consider all ideas carefully before you dismiss them.
That doesn’t mean you must accept all ideas. When your team offers an impractical idea, make a note of it as you would with great ones. If you have reservations, provide feedback in a constructive manner to the team on their ideas by praising other positive aspects of the creative session.
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2. Be specific and objective
Workplace politics are bad news for innovation managers. Employees worried about other people’s agendas and personal feelings are less likely to contribute to creative ideas. For this reason, leaders must always provide balanced constructive feedback on ideas that is both fair and objective. Never let your personal feelings influence the way you respond to ideas and contributions.
Also, don’t overcompensate by treating someone too nicely. You need to tell your employees when they are wrong, and you must specify the specific hurdles they face. This applies to everyone, no matter who gave the idea, from the team leader right down to the interns.
3. Give sufficient explanation
A person’s role within a company can affect their opinion on certain challenges or issues. As a leader, the chances are that you’ll be privy to more information compared to other employees and a unique perspective of various issues.
For this reason, it is imperative to explain your reasoning behind the way you perceive every contribution. Your employees need transparency on your assessment if they trust you to lead them in the desired direction. Besides, there is nothing more demoralising for an employee than having their idea shut down for no reason.
Helping team members draw conclusions on their terms is a far more effective way to deliver constructive feedback on ideas than telling them the answer. For this reason, questions are far more powerful than blunt statements when it comes to helping them address weaknesses in various ideas.
It’s important to mention that leading questions can come across as disingenuous, particularly in creative sessions. So, remind yourself that your opinion and feelings about a specific idea may not be absolutely correct. This will give you a platform to be honest about a specific idea while also exploring the possibility that the contribution may be impractical.
Instead of dismissing an idea, express your reservations about how it would sit with the executives and request your team to provide sufficient information about how it can work. If you still feel that the ideas provided are far away from being real solutions, try to refocus the team with a distinct objective.