How Feedback Loops Develop Creative Workspaces and Contribute to Vulnerability
There are two things that every successful organization needs besides great leadership and money: open lines of communication and the willingness for people to be vulnerable.
Feedback loops also help create vulnerable spaces for people to speak their truth, be seen and heard, and to contribute in a fair, non-aggressive way. When you put it all together - great leadership, money, honest communication and vulnerability - you get a system that works and provides success for everyone involved. Here’s how you can use the feedback loops to increase creativity and contribute to vulnerability in your employees.
You might be thinking to yourself, “I don’t want my employees to feel vulnerable”, but that’s because you associate the word “vulnerability” with weakness. Gone are the days when leaders see vulnerability with weakness, so it’s time to update your vocabulary. Now that you understand the term in today’s language, let’s talk about why it’s important for your employees to be vulnerable.
When people are vulnerable, they open themselves up to receive information. We are at our most vulnerable when we don’t have what we need, seek information, or need help from another person. Asking for help is akin to weakness for a lot of people, so if you are able to create an environment where people are willing to be vulnerable, it means they are willing to admit they are wrong, they don’t know, and they need more help.
This provides the perfect environment for leadership and mentoring, as well as peer-to-peer learning. That’s what your company wants. The more people talk to one another, the better off your company will be.
And when your employees can be vulnerable, it means they can share their concerns, their issues, and their ideas for the future instead of hiding those ideas away because only managers can have ideas or approve things.
Why Feedback Loops?
What do feedback loops have to do with creativity and vulnerability? For starters, feedback loops help to keep the information flowing from one side of the organization to the other. Whether you have four employees or four hundred, giving them a place to speak their minds and be heard is an important part of building trust which contributes to the ever-important vulnerability.
As the saying goes, there’s no right or wrong way to hold space for employees to speak their mind, but if you can do it in a way that is not intimidating and provides people with the sense of trust that is needed, say through a software program or one-on-one conversations, then you are more likely to see the benefits of getting quality insight and information from your employees.
Feedback loops also contribute to creativity because they can prompt employees to provide ideas or answer questions or provide solutions for existing problems that plague the company. When managers and supervisors all pile into a room alone and try to fix things without the input of those who are actually doing the jobs, things can fall apart. Employees don’t develop the trust that is needed to come forth with information that could be valuable - and profitable - for the company.
Feedback loops provide that space for employees to speak up and pitch in at regular intervals. Some companies get in the habit of publicizing their issues internally so that everyone can have a kick at the can to try to solve the problems that everyone faces. Why should it be the responsibility of just one person to do that? Everyone feels more involved and appreciated when they can have a say in what happens to them and the company for which they work.
You can’t know where your next great idea is going to come from, but if you are trying to build a business and struggle to get your employees on board with your leadership, creating feedback loops and allowing them to have a say is a great place to start. Opening up yourself to the feedback can also create and hold space for vulnerability that will serve you and your employees for years to come.
What to do with it
Feedback is not just one-sided, as many leaders would have you think. If you are going to provide feedback to your employees, you also need to be willing to hear them out about their criticisms, as well as their praises of the company. The loop creates communication opportunities that wouldn’t otherwise be there. Make it a priority and you’ll see more creative input and vulnerability from your employees in short order.
If you want to test this theory, gather a small group of employees and ask them what they would think about giving feedback on a regular basis. I’m willing to bet that they’ll jump at the chance to have a say in how the company operates and what happens to them in their jobs. It’s just good leadership and you’ll see the more you ask, the more you’ll get from them.
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Any facts, figures or references stated here are made by the author & don't reflect the endorsement of iU at all times unless otherwise drafted by official staff at iU. This article was first published here on 15th December 2019.