Leadership is getting people to want to do what needs to be done, and it provides the energy for change and the commitment to sustain it. It requires a range of activities, including empowerment, motivation, communication, listening, and providing both direction and feedback to team members.
But in a recent article, Gallup reported that only 21% of U.S. employees strongly agree that they have received meaningful feedback in the last week.
The piece goes on to list the following guiding principles:
- Make feedback timely and futuristic. It’s important for managers to address issues as they come up, but rather than looking “backward” it is best to focus on the future. “Be specific and timely with suggestions so the employee can implement them immediately, but don’t criticize the person as a person — that’s looking backward. Instead, emphasize specific improvements to look forward and get results faster.” In other words, instead of telling people what “not” to do, share the actions they should take going forward.
- Promote strengths. Highly engaged workers say that they use their strengths at work. In addition, the article notes that positive reinforcement helps people recognize their potential. As noted above, giving people feedback based on weaknesses simply alerts them as to what they shouldn’t do. It’s possible to work on weaknesses, but the learning process is significantly more frustrating, progress is slower and the result tends to be average instead of excellent. Telling employees how to succeed — not how to stop failing — is more effective.
- Explain the fallout. Actions have consequences, but not all consequences are punitive, and people may not know what they are. “Managers should share with people the downstream effects of their behavior on other team members, the company and their own potential for advancement.”
Read the full article…