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Leadership: Thriving On Feedback
2008-02-20 21:49:03

Have you ever wondered what makes a great leader? I contend that what makes a great leader is that they cherish and value the feedback they receive from the decisions they have made. All leaders know that the execution of a strategy will require monitoring the response they receive from their subordinates and the effect it has on the field. Feedback is the mirror that reflects your performance in no uncertain terms. It can be hard to take but its benefits far outweigh the initial fears and discomfort at the thought of being under the scanner. Feedback provides the outputs of interim results that lead to the ultimate objective. Here are some key ingredients of effective feedback as guideposts for your team: 1. Frequency Infrequent feedback is of very little use. You miss out on the daily challenges that your team has to struggle through. Indeed, most people complain of not getting enough guidance and counsel from their managers. Leaders should make it a weekly habit to have brief engagement meetings to learn of progress on their goals, and to get help in prioritizing the two to three things that their employees must get done next week. Also, it is a good idea to brainstorm with a group about new and better ways to tackle the goal and objective. Meet weekly for 10-15 minutes with your people individually. This way, a performance review becomes a summation of weekly coaching sessions instead of a revelation that this is how you feel about their performance. 2. Responsibility Since leaders are responsible for everything their people do or fail to do, when your people fail, you fail. You ought to keep your finger on the pulse of your team and know instantly why the performance slips when it does. You have to discern whether it is because they don't know how to the job or that they don't want to do it. The first is a training issue; the other is a motivational issue. Thus, rather than talk at people, talk with them by engaging in open-ended questions to get at a root-cause of the performance breakdown. 3. Encouragement Make sure you have brought your employee around to your way of thinking. Don’t end the meeting without agreeing with what your employee is going to start doing, stop doing, or doing it differently. Set a time to meet to review progress. Knowing that specific actions or behaviors are going to be reviewed soon at a future meeting gives the employee a sense of accountability and expectation. 4. Accountability Accountability is not the strong point of most organizations. Leaders tend to become complacent, indifferent and apathetic. You must not let that happen to you. Discipline yourself to meet briefly each and every week, and follow up on the goals to be accomplished next week. This is best performed individually via face-to-face, phone or virtual meeting technologies. Don't neglect people week in and week out by failing to talk. Communication is like light in a room for them, in that they see where they are and where they need to be.

Source: Leadership: Thriving On Feedback


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