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Feedback Welcome

Welcome to the Management Pocketblog.

This is a blog dedicated to all things management and we want it to reflect the values and style of the management pocketbooks series.  You can read more about the blog at the ‘New Readers’ tab.

What Feedback do you give?

9781906610128 The newly published Feedback Pocketbook opens with a shocking statistic:  33% of British employees consider they rarely or never get feedback on their performance.  If you have an equivalent statistic for any other country, please do let us know in the comments section, below.

So let’s assume that this represents around a third of British managers, failing to offer feedback – at least in a form that it is recognised.  Are you one of them?

Wasted opportunity

Feedback helps us develop and is arguably the most valuable performance-enhancing tool that managers have.  So if you are not giving great feedback, you are losing a noticeable slice of potential performance.  It doesn’t take a big performance loss, when multiplied across all  of a manager’s team, to account for the difference between a profitable and failing business, or a successful or collapsing service.

How big could that difference be?

Bandura and Cervone

In the early 1980s, Albert Bandura and Daniel Cervone conducted experiments with students at Stanford University, on a cycling ergo meter.  They measured the performance of eighty cyclists and then split them into four groups, balanced for gender and ability:

  1. Group A
    were set goals for performance improvement
  2. Group B
    were given no goals, but feedback on their performance
  3. Group C
    got both performance goals and feedback
  4. Group D
    were a control group and got neither goals nor feedback

At the end of a training period, Bandura and Cervone found that the twenty cyclists who had received both clear performance goals and feedback had improved their performance to a higher degree (by a factor of more than 2) than any other group.  Not surprisingly, the control group (D) showed least improvement.  Surprisingly, however, the control group only improved a little less than groups A and B.


Goal Setting and Feedback are both vital to great performance

So here’s the deal

Our goal

… is to engage in a dialogue with Management Pocketbook readers and anyone else interested in management.  Over the next six months, we’d like to get to at least 100 readers a week, and we want to get comments on most of our posts.

Your feedback

… is more than welcome.  Let us know what you think of our blogs and our books, and contribute your ideas to supplement ours.  Give us information and ideas, and tell us what you want.

Subscribe to this blog, so you don’t miss any of our posts – we look forward to the conversation.

Self-Evaluative and Self-Efficacy Mechanisms Governing the Motivational Effects of Goal Systems,
Albert Bandura and Daniel Cervone,
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 1983,
Vol 45, No. 5, 1017-1028

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12 thoughts on “Feedback Welcome

  1. Congratulations on getting this up and running and may I be one of the first to offer my feedback.

    Notice that I use the word ‘offer’ rather than ‘give’ as I feel that there is an important distinction. Giving feedback implies that the receiver must take it whereas offering feedback allows them to make a choice. Of course, if the feedback is offered in the right way, few will choose not to accept it but by doing so they have taken ownership of the feedback and are more likely to act on it.

    So, here is my offer … if the rest of the blogs are constructed in a similar way around a topic, with a little of the content and an opportunity for stimulating discussion, I will most certainly continue to read and interact. Happy to accept?

    Jooli Atkins

    1. Offer gratefully received, thank you Jooli – both for your feedback and for the nice distinction you offer.

  2. You could argue that the most effective feedback is invisible and is more like nurturing and training on the job, than it is about a formal feedback session. Perhaps that’s why employees don’t notice it. Also, employees that are more committed to self improvement are more likely to notice and take note of feedback.

  3. What a great topic to start off with. I agree with all that has been said so far. In my experience, feedback is one of the things that many managers find difficult to do and also do not rate it high on their agenda of things to do. It might be because it is still viewed as “criticism”. But like someone said previously, feedback can be done in so many different ways including, a quick email or a “thank you” acknowledging a job well done and should form part of daily work.

    1. Ruth, you are spot on about there being many ways to give feedback. One of the things I most liked about Mike Pezet’s new Pocketbook is his discussion of the pros and cons of so many different styles.

  4. Very nice blog-wqe;ll presented and clear
    Well done to all at Pocket Books

  5. Thanks for your kind words, Jon. We are planning great things for the blog, so keep watching.

  6. Nice idea! Nice Blog. Interesting piece of ‘research’ but just a thought – how similar is cycling to management?

  7. Love the blog and honoured that my book has been chosen as the first one.

    Bob’s point about the transferability of sports research to management/organisational contexts is pertinent. It pays to be cautious and not accept the transference at face value.

    That said that research supports Ilgens (1971) work into the relationship between performance goals and feedback in organisational settings. One of Ilgens points was that people often struggled to connect feedback to specific actions because of the myriad of interactions they participated in on a daily basis at work. One way to influence performance with feedback was to jointly establish goals and ensure timely/specific feedback was linked to goal achievement/non-achievement. Doing so enabled people to understand which actions were effective or not and thereby replicate/modify actions.

    So whilst the sports context is different, the performance benefits of linked/immediate feedback crosses settings.

    One of the feedback research points I found particularly interesting was the concept of trustworthy sources.

    I am currently gathering research on the challenges people perceive with feedback (I’ll place it on my website which hopefully goes live next week). One of the more frequent comments I get is the expectation that people should accept feedback they are ‘given’ and trust the intention behind the ‘giving’. Yet one piece of research highlighted that people have a hierarchy of sources they trust, in that study, the most frequently trusted sources were themselves first, followed by the task, supervisors, peers, organisation.

    My wish is that people could learn to improve their feedback by being prepared to engage people’s trusted sources first, instead of imposing their feedback and potentially being surprised/disappointed when their feedback hasn’t been accepted.

    Anyway I have taken up too much space here. I love the blog (being new to it myself) and it is great to read the discussions/debate. If you’re interested my website, which is feedback related, should be up sometime towards the end of next week (first week in March).

    Regards all and thanks for the blog

    Mike Pezet

  8. Excellent new blog which I shall add to my ‘favourites’ immediately!
    It makes such sense that feedback would help in a positive way yet so many managers forget/feel uncomfortable etc and don’t do it. It’s also worth remembering that we tend to remember negative feed back much more than the positive. When a manager I always tried to employ spirit of positive inquiry- focus on what is working and the behaviour you want to see more of!
    I hope the blog goes well for you. I tend to blog most days and it’s amazing how quickly people (and Google) find you. Lang may yer lum reek!

  9. Let’s be honest, for many people, ‘feedback’ is a feeble word – straight from ‘The Office’ or a US business school. And yet it is something we have been giving and receiving since a very early age. It is a natural part of our development. Sadly, that doesn’t make us good at it. At work, and at play, feedback is not always given or received in a sensitive and constructive way. And there is a tendency for it to be viewed as a one way street – i.e. something managers give their people.

    Imagine a world where we all accept that we are ‘works in progress’ and need others to provide us with constructive feedback (on areas of strength and areas for development)to continuously fuel our growth. Well thanks to Mike Pezet’s well researched and stimulating Pocketbook we can now be better prepared to bring that about. Thank you Mike! And thank you Management Pocketbooks for this thought provoking blog.

    Derek Snee, co-author Improving Efficiency Pocketbook.

  10. […] Feedback Pocketbook (take a look at our blog Feedback Welcome) […]

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