Why Feedback is Essential

Approximate reading time: 
under 2 minutes
The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place. ~George Bernard Shaw

One of the most challenging aspects of leadership involves engaging in effective feedback conversations. Few leaders do it well and some hardly do it at all.  In most organizations there is an urgent need for more feedback: conversations that recognize excellence, build on potential and address a lack of performance. Feedback conversations are critical to the health of organizations, and yet conducting these types of interactions is challenging for many leaders.

Most people are feedback deprived in their workplaces. While we tend to think only in terms of delivering constructive feedback (with a cringe) consider other reasons why these impactful conversations are so important for enhancing engagement:

  • To acknowledge and reinforce success. When someone is performing well, it’s important to notice, to focus attention on that success, and to build on it.
  • To raise awareness. When someone has a blind spot that affects performance, an appropriate piece of feedback can be a gift.
  • To influence a change in behavior. When someone is off course it’s important to let them know and to influence them in the right direction.
  • To encourage growth and development. When someone has potential that has yet to be explored, feedback can open new pathways.
  • To create an opening for coaching. If someone accepts the agenda implied by a piece of feedback, there is the possibility to support that agenda through coaching. With feedback conversations, we stay alert for coaching opportunities.
  • To preserve or enhance the relationship. Feedback that is honest, accurate, and provided with supportive intention, can build trust and rapport. Defensive reactions give way to respect and gratitude. There is no resentment or ongoing intrigue. The feedback recipient sees the feedback provider as an ally not an adversary.

Feedback conversations support a full range of objectives including those with a positive, corrective and developmental focus. As a leader, consider the meaningful impact you can have in your organization when you’ve become more effective in these interactions. Here are the outcomes from the work I do in this area:

  • Enter into feedback conversations with a higher degree of skill and confidence.
  • Provide positive feedback that reinforces and encourages desirable behavior.
  • Provide corrective feedback that addresses performance issues and explores
  • opportunities for coaching.
  • Provide developmental feedback that supports the exploration of future potential.
  • Understand and reduce personal resistance to engaging in feedback conversations.
  • Handle defensive reactions.
  • Follow a proven model for providing feedback.

Who you are is how you lead. As a leader, you build relationships and teams one conversation at a time. To learn more about how to engage in impactful conversations that get results: https://www.newavenueleadership.ca/facilitation