Theory Y and Feedback Culture

Imagen de dos personas en un fondo negro, destacadas por un gran icono de estrella azul y varios símbolos relacionados con la comunicación y las redes sociales. La persona de pie, con cabello ondulado y una camiseta a rayas, está sosteniendo un dispositivo móvil y parece estar enviando un mensaje. La segunda persona, sentada en el suelo con una laptop, parece estar trabajando o recibiendo feedback. Los iconos flotantes incluyen un pulgar hacia arriba, un pulgar hacia abajo, y burbujas de diálogo, que podrían representar opiniones o comentarios. Esta imagen ilustra la cultura de feedback, donde la retroalimentación es una parte integral de la comunicación, y está vinculada con la "Teoría Y" de Douglas McGregor, que asume que los empleados están motivados y pueden ejercer autocontrol y dirección en busca de objetivos organizacionales

Do you know McGregor’s Theory Y? It’s a team management theory that emphasizes the importance of human capital in organizations. It is one of the most influential, since it not only helps shape business culture, but also optimize structures and processes.

If you haven’t heard of it, or if you want to go deeper, I invite you to continue reading. Because in the next lines we are going to explore what Theory Y consists of, how it is related to productivity, and how the culture of feedback is essential to make it work.

What is McGregor’s Theory Y?

Developed by Douglas McGregor in the 60s in his book “The Human Side of Organizations”, Theory Y offers an optimistic view of human nature at work.

Unlike its predecessor, Theory X, which views employees as inherently lazy and in need of supervision, Theory Y is based on the premise that employees are naturally creative, motivated, and capable of managing their own tasks

So, according to this theory, when workers are given the opportunity to take responsibility and are challenged, they can achieve much more things.

However, to play out this scenario, we need an essential ingredient: communication.

And in Theory Y, one of the key factors is the constructive, open and two-way feedback:

  • Constructive: means that feedback should be designed to be helpful, positive and aimed at promoting development and improvement.
  • Open: refers to frank and transparent communication, where thoughts and opinions are shared honestly, without withholdings or filters, with the aim of fostering mutual understanding and growth.
  • Bidirectional: involves the exchange of feedback in both directions. Not only from leaders to employees, but also from employees to leaders in a dialogue in which both parties share and receive information, thus promoting more equitable and collaborative communication.

The role of Feedback in Theory Y

To materialize Theory Y in a work environment, establishing a culture of continuous feedback is crucial

Why? Because effective feedback not only informs employees about their performance at specific – and usually unfavorable – moments, but also empowers and motivates them by giving them the necessary input to strengthen dynamics that promote their professional development.

In this sense, an environment that values feedback, facilitates communication, learning and constant improvement, aligns perfectly with the principles of Theory Y.

How does Feedback contribute to Theory Y?

Traditionally, it has been considered that the role of managers is to organize the key elements that influence the productivity of the company, such as budgets, material resources, infrastructure and employees, with a purely economic purpose.

Although this has not changed in essence, what is evolving is the way of doing it: more and more companies are involving their teams, through effective feedback and continuous communication, in everything that has to do with the prosperous development of the organization.

We must not forget that the driving force of a company is its employees and without them, it would be impossible to achieve success.

So, how does feedback help motivate team members and boost their performance? We’ll tell you then:

Positive vision

Positive feedback reinforces confidence in skills and creativity. By recognizing achievements and offering constructive guidance, employees see that their efforts are valued, encouraging them to take on more responsibilities and challenges.

Self-management and control

Feedback allows employees to better understand how they are performing and what areas need improvement, which in the short term reduces the need for external supervision.

It provides them with the tools to direct their own development and performance.

Potential development

Aimed at highlighting employees’ skills and growth possibilities, feedback creates a stimulating work environment, where workers are encouraged to learn from their mistakes to improve and expand their capabilities.

This is undoubtedly beneficial for organizations, as it allows them to optimally exploit the talent and skills of their staff.

Focus on objectives

One of the priorities of companies is to align employees with strategic objectives. To achieve this, communication is essential, because in this way employees can understand how their contributions support those objectives and their impact on the success of the organization.

The result? More motivation to continue giving their best.

Collaboration and participation

Another important point is that two-way feedback fosters a sense of community and collaboration. By encouraging employees to exchange opinions and suggestions, you cultivate an environment of transparent dialogue and active participation, which makes each team member feel appreciated and taken into account.

When this happens, we stablish a work environment of trust and mutual respect, which helps improve interpersonal relationships, promotes creativity, innovation and teamwork.

Does your organization promote a culture of feedback ?

Do you want to find out what your employees’ perspective is regarding the feedback they are offered?

Or if your collaborators have enough freedom to communicate openly with their managers?

To find out if your organization promotes an effective feedback culture, you can use Team Insights to launch a survey and ask your people directly.

This way, you will not only get the information you are looking for, you will also take the first steps to demonstrate that communication is important for the company.

Here we leave you fourteen examples of questions for a feedback culture survey you can use:

  1. Do you think there is open communication between all teams and levels at [Company Name]?
  2. At [Company Name], can rumors be contrasted with information from official channels?
  3. At [Company Name], are successes communicated?
  4. Are you aware of the existence of a specific communication plan at [Company Name]?
  5. Do you know everything you need to know to achieve your goals?
  6. Is communication between colleagues honest and transparent?
  7. At [Company Name], are failures reported?
  8. Do internal communications provide you with useful information?
  9. Do you receive information about the results of the latest satisfaction surveys in which you have participated?
  10. Do you think [Company Name] communicates clearly and effectively with its employees?
  11. Do you think you can communicate clearly and transparently with your manager?
  12. At [Company Name], have you ever felt afraid when communicating, or have you not dared to give your opinion?
  13. Would you say that your coworkers accept opinions different from yours?
  14. At [Company Name], are employee opinions regularly collected for decision-making?

Good practices to promote Feedback Culture 

Finally, a warning: getting employees – including managers – to start giving their open opinion is not something you are going to achieve overnight.

Feedback and communication are aspects that must be nurtured little by little. Furthermore, to achieve this goal, it is essential to have the commitment of the management itself, who will serve as an example and inspiration for the rest of the team members.

If you don’t know how to start cultivating a culture of feedback in your organization, here are a few tips:

Feedback framework: Define what effective feedback means for your company and how to deliver it. To be constructive, it must be specific, timely, and focused on the behavior rather than the person.

Train your leaders in communication skills: Keep in mind that not all managers are trained to communicate effectively. If you notice that your leaders have problems managing feedback, it would be appropriate to offer them courses, workshops and training to improve this area.

Two-way feedback: Most employees are used to receiving feedback from their managers, but… and the other way around? Encourage employees to give feedback to their superiors to create an environment of reciprocity and mutual respect.

Integrate Feedback into daily processes: Don’t let feedback be something that is given punctually. Instead, make it a part of your regular routine.

Create an environment of psychological safety : That is, guarantee that all people feel safe to express their opinions without fear of reprisals.

Lean on technological tools: Take advantage of digital resources to facilitate the exchange of feedback. Solutions like Team Insights are very useful for hearing the voices of employees.


In short, Theory Y and Feedback Culture are complementary elements in the creation of a dynamic and productive work environment, in which the latter becomes an opportunity for the growth and development of the entire organization.

Have you not signed up for Team Insights yet? Create a free account and begin to encourage feedback today!

Table of Contents

Make decisions with
information, not intuition

Ensure you drive your decisions to the right direction. Align your budget and actions to the real needs of your team. Talk to people with true and honest feedback in your hands.