In more than twenty years of coaching senior leaders, I’m clear on the answer to the question, “What is the #1 mistake leaders make?”
Most Leaders Think They’re Giving Their Team Members Enough Feedback
But that’s not so.
A friend who’d recently moved into a GM role hadn’t had feedback from her boss. She was therefore unsure about how well she was performing. When she asked her boss for feedback, he said “I’ll tell you if I don’t think you’re on track. Isn’t that enough?”
(I promise, this is a true story!)
In tune with that, during team-member 360-feedback interviews, when I ask, “What could your boss do to be an even better leader?”, the team member consistently tells me they want more feedback from their boss.
The Costs of Insufficient Feedback
When team members talk about the impact of them not getting enough feedback from their boss, they say:
- “I find it discouraging and de-motivating to hear nothing about my performance. I don’t mind if I get positive or negative feedback, any feedback would be great. I’d like to know how I’m going so I stand a chance of being at my best.”
- “Not getting feedback doesn’t put me in a good position to be more effective—or to get a good performance review.”
- “I find it insulting that my boss doesn’t make an effort to give me feedback. Does he feel uncomfortable about having that sort of conversation, or can’t he be bothered?”
These sorts of responses are consistent, even from the most confident, effective performers.
Fortunately it’s not hard to turn around this #1 mistake leaders make.
BTW, Your Team Members Are Unlikely To Let On That They Care A Lot About How You Perceive Them
When you’re not giving them enough feedback, your team member usually decides they’re not important to you. That’s when both their motivation and discretionary effort takes a big hit.
Conversely, when you give them feedback, it tells them that you care enough to invest time in helping them do their best work.
Your Call to Action
If you’re one of the many leaders who aren’t giving regular feedback, you can easily turn things around…
Ask each of your team members, individually, “If I were to give you more feedback, what would you like feedback on?”
Let me know what you discover. I always like receiving your feedback :-).
My career was at a crossroad and I needed that “secret sauce” to comfortably
transition to the next level. Yes, I could read it in the leadership books. But you helped
me put it into practice. Your coaching is a perfect fit for any business leader who wants to
perform at a higher level. I have no hesitation in recommending you to my colleagues.
—Head of Risk and Regulatory, top 50 ASX listed company
About the Author:
For more than 25-years, Carolyn Stevens has helped leaders flourish and become more confident, more courageous and impressively influential.
She specialises in helping ambitious but frustrated female leaders become a totally inspiring and sought-after leader.
Carolyn is authentic and results-oriented. She’ll draw on an eclectic array of approaches, tools and techniques to suit your situation.
She’s never too busy to talk to you if you’re in a hurry to boost your success. Same goes for leaders you refer.
Email if you’d like to arrange a time to chat: firstname.lastname@example.org