EconomySilences that kill: the lack of feedback in organizations

Silences that kill: the lack of feedback in organizations

(Expansion) – The sum of feedbacks not given generates monsters. One of those monsters are the promotions that occur for political reasons, without there having been instances where the different actors of the organization have mentioned the negative aspects that they saw in that talent.

When that promotion is about to be given, questions arise: “but how, to this person, if last year he mistreated…?”. When people from Human Resources go back to see those cases, many times there is no trace of anyone giving negative feedback to that person. No one. Not former bosses, not colleagues, not people who were on their teams.

There is no documentation of mistreatment or inappropriate ways, no one ever mentioned the non-response to emails or the absence without notice in meetings, there are no indications of the lack of technical skills or arbitrariness. There is nothing and there seems to be no way to put all that on the table precisely when giving a promotion.

The long plot of silence has caused the organization not to mention the inconsistencies. The reasons for these silences are varied: not wanting to make “noise”, seeking not to leave the person in question in a bad light due to their ties with other people or not wanting to generate discomfort in the environment.

You don’t have to be an expert or an alchemist to realize that an important underlying variable is fear, that element that eats away at organizations from within. That fear makes excuses for not telling the truth.

Anyone should resist the raw and hard truth if it is said with respect and human warmth. It is about attacking the problem, never the person. The lack of feedback is an ingredient that shows the lack of professionalism of a team. In high-performance sport, feedback is millimetric: feedback is given at every moment and constructive criticism is made to enhance the performance of the group.

This rarely happens in companies, where omissions are astronomical and where, even performance evaluation, is ignored and underestimated by top leaders of the pyramid structure. Thus, the lack of improvement punctures the necessary transformations, systematically kicking off the change that is needed for tomorrow.

The problem with the silences is that they are alpinites: they climb and make those protected go far. There are companies in which the expertise of silence reaches a sophistication worthy of being awarded. No one says anything honestly. They are an archipelago of disconnected beings who murmur but never confront each other. They are the kingdom of gossip and rabble.

Meanwhile everyone talks about diversity. Wouldn’t diversity also be helping the other to make it grow? progressive hypocrisy.

One of the possible keys to change this scenario is to start with ourselves. Ask people who can give us feedback for suggestions. That is, expose ourselves to the gaze of the other so that he tells us what he sees of us.

If someone tells us “I want to give you feedback”, the first thing our brain thinks is that they are going to criticize us furiously. The word feedback is tinged with this negative semantics. For this reason, asking for advice or a suggestion can open the way to another type of conversation, much more productive, in which the other person feels open to telling us points for improvement.

At the same time, it’s crucial to keep having conversations about how corrosive the lack of feedback is for our little everyday innovations.

In fact, thanks to the suggestions of others (parents, bosses, CEOs, etc.), each of us became part of what we are today. We have learned to be more ourselves thanks to others honestly telling us the potential they saw in us. They had hope in us.

Giving us feedback made us better. That feedback that they offered us and put in our hands was, in some way, an act of love: it made us grow.

Editor’s note: Nicolás José Isola is a philosopher, has a master’s degree in education and a PhD. He has been a consultant for UNESCO and is currently an Executive Coach, Consultant in Human Development and Specialist in Storytelling, communication and diversity. Write to [email protected] and follow him on and/or . The opinions published in this column belong exclusively to the author.

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