Good Leaders Give Great Feedback By Glenda Lewis

Who doesn’t like receiving good and constructive feedback at home or in the workplace?  The ripple effect of giving great feedback is immeasurable, but for some articulating clear feedback is like harnessing a fabled unicorn.  Likewise, for providing negative feedback – navigating and preparing for such conversations can be more daunting than tackling the flying fox for the first time at school!  But as a leader of any kind, having the tools in your toolkit to give great feedback and induce change is non-negotiable.

In this article, let’s explore how to give concise but actionable feedback that actually changes behaviour.

As humans, to change our behaviour we need three things:

  1. A clear goal
  2. A genuine desire to achieve that goal
  3. And here is the clincher – Feedback that keeps us on track; what we’re doing well and what we’re not doing well

As a CFO and executive coach, I have seen many clients sitting across from me grappling with how to articulate feedback, either in business or with their own family or friends.  How I simplify this method is by categorizing positive and negative feedback as separate methods of approach, with each method being done successfully and succinctly within 1 minute.  You can try these with your kids, partner or business contacts.

For positive feedback my key 1-minute tips are:

  • Give feedback in a timely manner.
  • Let others see this recognition (namely in a team or group environment – office huddles, newsletters, team emails etc).
  • Make the feedback specific (be clear, not vague, and give three separate specific things that you liked).
  • And lastly, please don’t sandwich feedback with negativity.

To communicate negative feedback my key 1-minute tips are:

  • Again, give feedback in a timely manner and remember to only critique the behaviour, not the person.
  • Again, make this feedback really specific (give clear examples of things that have not been performed or produced to a standard you would hope or expect).
  • Explain what “good” looks like as far as your expectations of the level and standard of work that should be produced.
  • When its over, its over. Once you have delivered your negative feedback that’s it – there is no need to dwell on it nor bring it up again.

What you say is only 7% of what you actually say!

Something that often surprises people is the impact of what you don’t say.  The pitch, volume, pace and timbre make up 38% of what you actually say (with 55% being body language).  So when you use the tips above to give 1-minute feedback, look people in the eyes and play with your pitch and pace for emphasis.

Providing effective feedback is a crucial leadership skill no matter who or what you are leading.  By providing effective feedback well, you can ignite your employees, family, kids, and business associates and help them and your organization thrive and potentially catch unicorns in the process too!

Find out how Glenda helps support her clients to uplevel their leadership skills here: