How to Offer Effective Feedback as a Leader:
One of the most needed but often neglected organizational health producers is open and honest feedback. All of us need to know that we are valued, that our contribution is meaningful, and that we are wanted on the team.
We’ve probably all experienced a feedback session that was de-motivating and walked away discouraged or even angry. Hopefully, we’ve also experienced receiving feedback that was encouraging, beneficial, and resulted in positive change in behavior and outcomes. What makes the difference? Delivering effective feedback is a skill that you can develop.
Two Key Components of Effective Feedback:
- Offering praise
- Providing correction
We tend to be weighted toward one or the other. We need to be intentional and effective in both.
5 Principles for Delivering Effective Feedback:
Be receptive –
It begins with you. When you acknowledge your own poor decisions or failures, you foster a transparent environment that communicates that it’s okay to admit mistakes. You are the role model of how to receive corrective feedback without defensiveness or excuse making.
Be specific –
Whether they’re to praise or correct, general statements like, “great job,” or “you messed up, let’s take care of it,” have little positive effect. Instead, identify the behavior that you appreciate or that needs to be remedied. Describe the impact it has on you, the team, and the organization.
Two Examples of Specific Feedback:
“Sally, I appreciate the way you handled the client meeting yesterday. You started the meeting on time, were well-prepared, and answered the client’s questions directly and correctly. I am glad that you are a part of the team. You put us and the organization in a good light. Thank you.”
“Bill, I have observed that you have been late to the last three team meetings. I know you have a lot on your plate, but when you don’t arrive on time you communicate to me and the team that our time is not valuable. What I need is for you to be here and ready to start when the meeting begins.”
Be encouraging –
Even if you need to address a problem, express your belief and confidence in the person. Let them know you want them to succeed and continual growth is a part of the journey. When you see changed behavior in light of feedback, send them a note or communicate in some way that you appreciate the effort they have made.
Be intentional –
Workers in general feel under-appreciated. They don’t feel their contributions are noticed and they themselves are taken for granted. Identify what you appreciate about each person on your team. If giving praise doesn’t come easily to you, sit down and make a list to plan when and what you will communicate to each team member.
Be incremental –
If there are several areas of needed correction, don’t back up the truck and dump them all at once. Select one or two critical changes that need to be made and set a plan and a time-table for improvement. Then come back and address the others.
All of us need feedback. It is essential to our personal and professional success.
If you’re a church leader, pastor, or the leader of a non-profit organization, are you looking for leadership training or team development help? Thanks to the backing of a generous foundation, LifeEquip is able to offer leadership and organizational training at highly reduced rates to meet the needs of smaller organizations. Some LifeEquip services include pastoral coaching, OLA, Everything DiSC, The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team, and Lead Like Jesus.
- Adjunct Professor of Theology and Leadership
- Certified as a Human Behavior Consultant
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- Organizational Leadership Assessment (OLA) Partner
- Certified Facilitator of Ken Blanchard’s Lead Like Jesus Encounter Groups
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- International Speaker and Trainer
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