Download our latest whitepaper Developing Emotional Capital: The advanced evolution of emotional intelligence for leaders

According to Gallup Global Workforce Survey 2023, only 11% of staff are actively engaged. That means less than one fifth of us are giving our best at work. So what makes a difference? According to the poll, 95% of engaged performers report being treated with respect all day and 80% report having received direct feedback from their boss in the past week! Read on to discover how we engage our teams through feedback.

Think about it, how much feedback have you received from your leader? And if we consider your performance, how much feedback have you given to your team this week? Once whilst delivering a workshop I mentioned that the ratio of positive feedback to constructive feedback should be 5:1. An HR director said that was unrealistic and where was the evidence. I sent her the Harvard Research Paper and it was actually 5.98: 1!  Almost a ratio of 6:1 positive to constructive feedback….in a week!

So why was this such an issue for this people director, and indeed many of us? I believe there are two key reasons; one we don’t like giving feedback, as we fear the consequences. Secondly, and I think this is the more significant one, we don’t know how to give effective feedback.  What are the actual words we need to use? How will someone take it? What happens if they cry?!

To exacerbate the issue, constructive feedback often needs to tackle underperformance or the even more nebulous area, behaviours in the workplace. The latter of these can be seen as lacking objectivity. A manager once elected to have a conversation with someone who chose to heat up kippers in the office microwave, and the whole office reeked of fish for weeks afterward. Was the manager being subjective? Was the issue so important?  No one likes to be given constructive feedback. Let me repeat this NO ONE LIKES TO BE GIVEN CONSTRUCTIVE FEEDBACK.  This is why we need to implement the 5:1 ratio.  When we have been given specific feedback about the positive aspects of our work over and over again, the, when something that needs to change is raised, we will accept it more easily. Not right away!  It needs to be processed and considered, then reluctantly we will accept it. Our ego has been dented. The five to one ratio builds the trust that we need to secure the basis for a good feedback conversation.

If you or your organisation are struggling with effective feedback, our 5 Conversations book can help. Whether or not you’ve attended a 5 Conversations workshop, this book allows you to explore the 5 Conversations methodology on your own.

The book includes customer success stories, insights on the impact of psychological safety and its link to emotional intelligence, the latest neuroscience research and engagement data, and guidance on applying the 5 Conversations approach with customers.

Receive an exclusive preview of the first two chapters to get a taste of what the 5 Conversations book has to offer. Discover how this approach can transform the way you give and receive feedback.

Further reading

Fierce Conversations: Achieving success in work and in life, one conversation at a time

Insight Articles – Emotional Intelligence

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In this article, we will explore the profound link between emotional intelligence and agile organisational leadership. We will delve into the key principles of emotional intelligence and discuss how they align with agile leadership practices.

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