When discussing leadership principles, fewer topics elicit more groans than the mention of feedback. In many cases the mechanics of giving and receiving feedback are misunderstood and in others, people have just had bad experiences giving or receiving feedback. Let’s take a look at feedback from the perspective of an old cliché, “what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.” As a leader, you just have to get over your dislike and learn to give and receive feedback. In this article we’ll work on some basics and turn feedback into an accelerator for your career.
We’ll start our conversation within the paradigm provided in a February 2019 article in the ATD Journal written by Patrick Malone and Zina Sutch. Then, I’ll give you a tool to put it into practice. Spoiler alert — effective feedback is nuanced, so don’t wing it.
The authors point out that surveys show that employees do want feedback. Learning organizations grow and thrive and consequently, “environments with healthy feedback mechanisms are more innovative and productive and are simply better places to work.” In addition, I maintain that you need to understand feedback if you are to up your game as a leader. You need to be able to give your direct reports substantive insights into what just happened in a particular situation and also learn how to share your insights as to how your reports are progressing on their leadership journey. The authors go on to caution that without feedback, people fail to change their ways and succumb to habit.
So, we can all benefit from proper feedback. But how do you avoid sounding judgmental and putting someone into “survival mode?” The reality is it may not be the feedback that you deliver, but how you deliver it and its timing that may cause unpleasantness. Let me encourage you by helping you improve your technique.
The most successful path to delivering feedback is for leaders to understand the expectations of the person to whom they are giving feedback. These expectations are how they like to be approached by others during critical conversations. Essentially, the person receiving the feedback may not be psychologically wired the same as the person giving the feedback. To be effective, you must give a person feedback the way they want to receive it. To do this you must first know yourself and then know the person to whom you are giving feedback. Because your style matches only 25 percent of the general population, you run the risk of giving feedback the way you want to receive it to folks that don’t want to hear it your way. Thus, the person you are giving feedback to pushes back.
At Academy Leadership, our approach is to provide a foundation for effective feedback built on our leadership survey, Energize2Lead. With this program you become better acquainted with your leadership style and understand better the style of the person to whom you are giving feedback. The Energize2Lead profile and other tools available through your training professionals will give you the confidence to give feedback the way your colleagues and the people you lead need to get it. Ask your training professionals to help prepare you for success by understanding how to give and receive feedback.
Ron works with emerging leaders, execs, entrepreneurs and managers who want to sharpen their leadership skills and inspire their teams to achieve a level of performance beyond their imagination. He does this by providing high-impact, energizing programs that give the participants an opportunity to learn and practice the guiding principles of leadership that are crucial to establishing a success-oriented environment. You already know a lot about leadership, Ron helps you to amp it up and put it all together so that you use your abilities in a disciplined fashion every day to achieve results! His course participants are unanimous in their feedback, "I wish I had attended earlier in my career." He has also brought his Leadership Excellence Course to the Battleship North Carolina, where participants learn in a most inspiring environment how to motivate people, the power of integrity, the reasons for good feedback and many other defining leadership principles that help leaders and teams get to the next level and achieve results. You can check out some other course opportunities at AcademyLeadership.com. Look in the Raleigh, Greensboro, Charlotte and Wilmington areas.
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