A Safe Negative Feedback Systems is Required to Create an Effective Company Culture
One of the most critical elements to create an organization that improves constantly and increases performance and virtually any key metric is to have "Institutionalized Feedback". This means ways to be sure all negative feedback is captured, even encouraged. A great read on this is The Learning Organization by Peter Senge. It is well known that only 1 in 11 people will provide negative feedback, hence it is critical to encourage this.
Any manager that is using intimidation or does not really listen to others is creating an environment that will degrade over time and where their subordinates will not improve, nor will they personally grow. Listening is a skill that must be practiced. Most people shut down and pretend the person is not qualified when they start saying negative things about them. This is human nature and normal. Good managers will listen, not interrupt, document the feedback and review it critically. There is a reason for this that must be discovered, even if it is not exactly what that person's perception may be.
This open door policy is a good start, and any manager should have that. However, trust that they will be heard, without retribution, and that the company has integrity is also required. When the negative feedback is about someone's direct superior there needs to be a way to go around them too.
I try to have regular employee reviews where there is a 50-50 balance of talking, not one way that encourages these to be 100% company oriented, not employee oriented. Of course this is not enough as you do not want to wait six or twelve months, or even three months for negative feedback.
We help companies drop in standard Management Systems, that Jim Collins in Good To Great says takes 5-10 years for even great companies to develop. You can see these and a video about the Human Capital Acquisition and Development (H-CAD) System here.
Every company with over about 25 full-time employees needs these processes and policies set. The responsibility to execute them properly, according to the culture and brand defined by the CEO/C-Level, is owned by every single manager. Never just the CEO or executives.
I recently launched a free video series called 101 Management Best Practices. Here is a sample on the topic of culture and how Southwest Airlines does this right. Most companies do it backwards.
Bob Norton has been a CEO since 1989 and a CEO Coach, Consultant and Thought Leader in Leadership, Management and Systems since 2002.
He is the creator of AirTight Management, The CEO Boot Camp and hundreds of training programs for executives and managers.