Receiving Feedback as a Team Lead

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I recently read a pretty kickass article by Mercer on Kayako’s blog, How to Invite and Acknowledge Feedback as a Manager. Feedback is critical to your performance as a lead/manager. Over the past year and a half, I’ve tried to build in more opportunities for team members to give me feedback in a variety of situations (voice vs text, anonymous vs non-anonymous, in-person vs remote).

The article popped into my Pocket at a particularly timely moment. We just completed our third “leadback” survey of the year on Sparta, and I’m in the process of reading through the results and figuring out next steps.

At it’s core, a leadback survey is a tool that many leads at Automattic use to get feedback from their team. Generally, they’re done using something like Google Forms. Questions range all over the map and responses often come in the form of a Likert scale with optional long form explanations.

Here’s a quick snapshot of the latest leadback survey I sent out:

An example of a leadback survey used for Sparta

Whenever I’m composing a leadback survey to send out to the team, I generally target the questions at three specific areas of leadership. I choose one area that I think is going well and two that need improvement. This way, I’m more than likely going to get some actionable items to work on over the next 3-4 months. Then, on the next leadback survey, I repeat one of the questions (the area that I focused on) and include two new questions. This helps to gauge progress throughout the year.

I find a lot of value in the leadback survey results, and they help to shape my focus for the next 3-4 months. I publish the results and action items on our internal team blog, which adds an extra layer of accountability and transparency with the results.

If you’re not already, I would encourage you to experiment with adding these to your feedback repertoire. They provide a simple way to invite feedback from the team and uncover areas for improvement.

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