Giving Feedback

One of the most important skills of a leader is giving feedback.

It's the time to assess the person's performance, to ensure that their goals and objectives are consistent with yours, to clarify if they have the right attitude and to discuss their strengths and weaknesses.  

If you have several direct reports, the review meeting will seem like a routine event, but to the individual concerned it may take on far greater significance.  And remember, every time you give feedback you prove yourself as a leader.

I think the best way to do it is to be clear about the objective - what do you want this person to become in the future. When they enter - set the stage and put them at ease. Ask powerful questions that lead to self-appraisal - which means they are talking and you are listening. Not just listening to hear, but really listening, listening to understand.  I love self-appraisal because it sticks, it's less hurtful and it causes the right reaction within the individual.

The end bit is to ratify it - agree the plan, actions and a timetable.  Achieving the goals set is not the most important thing, moving in the right direction and striving for continuous improvement is.

Remember also that one-to-one meetings are an opportunity for them to give you feedback.  Make it clear that you would like to hear their views and receive their comments in the say way as you would like them to receive yours.

If you follow this structure you will get powerful results. The person leaves feeling great and she or he will be open to your suggestions.

Mastering the art of giving feedback is key to getting the best out of people and to becoming a successful leader.


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