Importance of Feedback

Throughout my last two internships, I have learned the importance of feedback in an organization. Constant feedback, being given in informal ways as well as formal processes, was essential to keep me going and engage me in work. As office vibe suggests “65% of employees said they want more feedback,” which demonstrates how essential it is in organizations. Also, “58% of managers think they give enough feedback” which again demonstrates that there is a lack of feedback in organizations. In most cases large firms have systems in place that promote managers and employees to give feedback to each other. In many cases these are anonymous to allow employees to actually criticize their managers. By using this system, the entire organization benefits and becomes more efficient. In other cases feedback is given straight forward in such a way that promotes communication between employees. Companies also promote informal feedback to have all team members “in the same page”. This is done by simple conversations that discuss the current performance and attitudes of employees.

More specifically, in my experience when working for an investment bank, there were several ways in which we received feedback. The most common technique was simple conversation with one’s colleges. The company emphasized the importance of constantly having conversations with colleagues about one’s performance and future improvements. During training we, interns, were told to ask as many times as we wanted how we were doing and what we could do to improve. This really kept us in the same page in terms of expectations. Moreover, the firm also organized each intern to have a “body”. A “body” is a person that works close to you and helps the intern with any questions he/she may have. Every intern would “get a coffee” with this person at least once a week, which created consistency. The benefits of such a strategy were invaluable. In my case my “body” gave me very specific evaluations of how I was doing and what I could do to improve. This was essential to my success during the summer. The systems work differently depending on the intern and the “body,” but if used correctly it can be very beneficial for both parties. This technique feels very informal and its enjoyable if one has a good relationship with the “body.” It promotes friendship, which is key in the development of the internship. The last way in which the company promoted feedback was mid and end evaluations. The intern had to choose 6 to 10 employees that worked closely with him or her to write an evaluation on his performance during the time. This evaluation focused on positive and negative aspects of the intern. Then the head of the team explained it. The evaluation was never given to the intern; it was only summarized to promote anonymity. This mid-evaluation was essential for the intern to understand his or her current performance and improve in the second half of the internship. It gave the intern a good idea of what the team thought about his or her performance. On the other hand, the end evaluation gave the intern a good idea if he or she will get a permanent offer. It explains essentially what the employees thought about his performance and if her or she would be a good fit for the team.

After my last two internships, I believe that constant feedback in an organization is essential for performance. It motivates employees to work harder and improve their flaws. In my case it was essential and an important factor to receiving another offer for this coming summer.


Leadership and Motivation – How to Motivate people in the work force  

To achieve goals in life a person must have a purpose. Motivation is defined by Webster’s dictionary as something inside people that drives them to action. This concept is essential when analyzing why people act in a certain way. In the work force, a successful leader is able to motivate its peers to reach their full capacity. Yet, what techniques do leaders use to achieve such results?

There are many kinds of leaders around the world that have been successful using very different strategies. It is possible to characterize a leader into two different styles; hard power and soft power. These are opposing ideologies. Hard power highlights the idea of hierarchy, were the leader establishes itself as the only authority. This type of leadership works in moments of crisis. The best example is a military platoon. Soldiers are taught to follow orders from superiors without any hesitation. Motivation comes into place through punishment. This can also be applied in the work force, but it is not very effective. On the other hand, soft power has been shown to be the most effective ideology of the two in the work force. The reasoning behind soft power is to establish motivation through a common vision and goal. The leader should be able to move people without the need of a hierarchical position. A perfect example is Steve Jobs. Apple was not doing great until early 2000s when Steve Jobs came back. This is a braking point in the company’s history because he is able to invent the iPod and then convince the rest of the work force to become the most innovative company in the Telecommunications and technology industry. Through the use of soft power, Steve Jobs is able to convince thousands of employees to make a difference in the world. Although he was no the CEO at the time, Jobs has a vision that the rest of the employees can incorporate. Soft power is clearly shown and proves to be an effective way to move employees to be more creative and hard working.

The problem with grouping leaders into two distinct clusters is that it does not take into account most people. The majority of leaders stand somewhat in the middle of both ideologies. So if one does not have the “the ability to get people to do what they don’t want to do and like it” like Steve Job, how can a manager motivate its employees?

Motivating employees can be done through two distinct manners. The simplest of all is money. It is clear that money makes people do unimaginable things. Money is essential to survive and have a comfortable life, which makes it the most basic motivator. Moreover there are other strategies that can be used that are non-monetary. Giving recognition for workers that have overachieved is essential and has proven to be even more effective than money in many circumstances. Also, giving employees responsibilities is another way to motivate people to work harder and feel satisfied with their work.

A leader that is able to motivate its peers and employees can make an enormous difference in the work force. Average employees are considered to work about two thirds of their capacity just because of their lack of motivation. This is different in organizations that promote their employees’ satisfaction and inspiration. I believe that motivation is key to succeed and consider it one of the most important traits of a great leader.