Typically, this includes the on-line system, process and form filling that needs to be completed and submitted to HR or line managers. At best the appraisal system helps to ‘manage’ performance but has minimal impact on actually ‘improving’ and ‘maximising’ performance. It’s the conversation itself that really counts!
The performance conversation is the constructive dialogue that takes place between two or more people to exchange and feedback, information, perspectives and experiences on their performance.
It’s the quality and frequency of these conversations that can make the biggest difference in Indivduals and teams feeling motivated and engaged to perform (or learn to perform) at their very best.
In my experience, both in the UK and internationally, managers and leaders do not like and frequently avoid giving feedback. In many cases they find it difficult, ‘unpalatable’ and in some cases scary. At best they have the desire and willingness to carry out these conversations but are not always sure HOW to best carry them out and appropriately deliver feedback.
So how should we give feedback and does this differ internationally?
Most of us will not think before we give feedback. Often, this comes naturally and little thought is given to how we deliver our feedback. Probably most people will think that they are following the ‘standard international’ rules for giving feedback. However, more often than not, this could not be further away from the truth. How we voice our opinions, talk and give feedback is greatly influenced by culture. Our manner of speech, whether we use our hands during talking and whether we use the tone of our voice are all factors influenced by culture. This is something that can be easily forgotten, but can come at great cost if it is.
Cultural differences in giving feedback can lead to misunderstandings and disruption of a good working relationship. For example a South American’s dominant style can be highly offensive to an African, while the softer, positive manner of an African may not make much of an impact on the South American. In this respect, it is important to know the main differences in management culture, and how to react to styles different from yours.