As leaders, giving feedback and is critical to enhancing performance with staff.
People want to know how they can improve and that they are doing a good job.
The same can be said for leaders.
In their article ‘Being a great leader means giving and receiving feedback’, Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman researched over 50,000 executives, they found that “Leaders who ranked at the top 10% in asking for feedback were rated, on average, at the 86th percentile in overall leadership effectiveness.”
Receiving feedback can be hard to accept at times, but it can uncover areas of our leadership we can improve on.
Many years ago as a teacher in Primary School, I was rostered on the playground supervision during the lunch break. A young boy from my class approached me and said: “Mr Cherry, you haven’t spoken to me for two weeks!” As a person who prided myself of having good relationships with all of the children in my class, I was surprised to hear him say this.
It occurred to me what the young boy was trying to tell me. I realised I had not been giving him any one on one time with me for two weeks as he stated.
I started to think about how I could measure all of the interactions I was having with the kids in my class and I started recording the interactions on the roll call each morning.
What I found was that I only had one on one interaction with 2/3 of my class.
These 2/3 were divided into the group of the kids who loved sports, those that liked a bit of a joke and I would interact and play with them in the playground. The other group were the kids that had questions or needed additional help with their work or had learning difficulties.
What really made me sad was realising the group of kids in the middle, the other 1/3 of my class, the kids who made my job easier to do. They just got on with their work and because of this, I had been giving them the least amount of my time and attention.
This group of kids is where the young boy who gave me his honest feedback fell into. It really hit me. With 35 kids in my class, I could not have done my job without them.
It was one of the biggest lessons I learned about being a leader ensuring I was spreading my time evenly with all my people and I have found that this is true for most leaders, we spend time with those we like or who need help and those who just do their jobs get little feedback from us in particular positive feedback thanking them for their efforts.
I now apply the same principle within my own leadership and the leaders I coach we make sure we talk to all our team giving them feedback and requesting the same back, I ask for open and honest feedback in the areas I can improve as well.
What steps can you take to encourage a feedback-rich environment?