Nuru Leadership: Growing Through Positive Feedback and Constructive Criticism
Here at Leadership, we are gearing up to teach our next training series. Making edits to our curriculum, translating key points, and putting together classroom materials, we are well on our way to begin teaching Nuru Field Officers about the importance of feedback. Feedback is a vital aspect of life here at Nuru Kenya and it is an especially significant part of leadership’s daily routine. We provide feedback to each other after every lesson we teach, leadership managers provide feedback to their employees once a week, and we also continuously solicit feedback from other staff members about how our trainings are conducted and scheduled. But it’s not only in leadership where feedback is emphasized, all Nuru employees must also give and receive feedback on bi-annual performance evaluations, and many other programs institute feedback after important trainings or meetings as well.
Given that feedback is so instrumental to the working environment here, it is crucial that all Nuru staff are equipped with the tools, knowledge, and skills to enable them to give and receive it successfully. Yet in Kenya, giving feedback is often fear-inducing and can cause a significant amount of anxiety. The risks of giving and receiving feedback are high and can include fear of losing one’s job, losing respect from other employees or friends, and potentially losing promotion opportunities. However, it is the risks of not giving and receiving feedback that rather create a more negative outcome. This includes failure to grow as a person and leader, failure to reach a goal, frustration, anxiety, and an increase in poverty and corruption. Without giving and receiving feedback, employees stay stagnant and are not able to identify how they can grow and improve.
In order to mitigate these challenges, the Leadership Team teaches Nuru staff about the benefits of feedback and works to create a culture in which feedback is a positive rather than negative experience. Even with this effort, the process of feedback is not without its challenges. Many staff members are still reluctant to give the leadership team feedback after lessons and at times they still fear giving feedback to other employees on performance evaluations. However, training Nuru staff on this topic helps to eliminate some of these challenges and the leadership team’s constant nurturing and openness about receiving positive input and constructive criticism also works to encourage staff members to feel comfortable with participating in the process of feedback. Every day there is improvement on the staff’s willingness to provide open, honest, and effective feedback and as the leadership team embarks on formally instructing staff about this topic, it is a certainty that giving and receiving feedback among Nuru staff will only continue to progress.