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In Economic Recovery, Focus on Feedback
by Terry L. Comp and Larry B. Comp in General and Miscellaneous
As the country’s economic recovery takes hold and corporate America works to regain a state of equilibrium, there’s a lot to do inside our organizations to be ready for the upturn in years to come. There’s no better time than now to work on reinforcing your organizational culture of accountability by improving the feedback and coaching skills of your leaders. When people believe that they are personally responsible for their own performance, and receive good, objective information about how they’re doing, it’s amazing what can be accomplished. Clearly, the lack of constructive feedback accounts for many of the ongoing performance failures that many managers would like to lay at the feet of the employees who simply aren’t doing what is expected of them. In truth, the performance disappointments are a shared responsibility, and leaders are equally accountable for any disheartening results.
Feedback Satisfies a Basic Human Need
Since personal and organizational performance matters more than ever, it is vitally important to have leaders who have well-developed coaching and feedback skills. People naturally WANT to know what is expected and how they are measuring up to those expectations. Establishing a pattern of honest, open communication early on is the best way to ensure that the “need to know” is satisfied, and team members get help in correcting minor problems or inefficiencies before they become habits.
Also, after providing constructive feedback in an effective manner, you as the leader have an important opportunity to observe how the individual responds. Is she/he able to hear and process the information in the spirit it was intended, and turn a defeat into a victory? Is the individual apt to use a mistake or near-miss as an opportunity to grow to new heights? As author and performance expert Jerry Fletcher states, “One thing that distinguishes high performers, is that they take responsibility for their lives. If things aren’t going well, they do something about it. “
Giving and receiving feedback is a learned skill, and company productivity could be impacted quite positively if we would teach it. Here are some simple, practical ideas to keep in mind as you work to improve coaching and feedback within your organization:
In times like these, it’s more important than ever to demonstrate that you value performance and will go to great lengths to clear the path for individuals to achieve their highest potential, both personally and professionally. Gone are the days when managers can “wimp out” simply because a conversation might involve some uncomfortable moments. Authentic leaders genuinely care about the individual’s success, and will do the hard work of creating a trusting relationship with the team member. If the relationship is a solid one, you will not think twice about honestly and thoughtfully discussing the team member’s strengths and weaknesses.
People are never able to perform at the highest level working in a vacuum. Constructive feedback, carefully and thoughtfully delivered, is an invaluable tool for growth and development. Both leaders and followers need it and deserve it. The current period of economic recovery offers an important opportunity to assess our coaching and feedback effectiveness, and make some changes. We contend that well-equipped leaders and an authentic culture of accountability will be an important competitive advantage when economic recovery is complete and new opportunities present themselves.
Terry Comp and Larry Comp are Principals with LTC Performance Strategies, Inc., a prominent performance development and total compensation solutions practice located in Valencia, California. They have been guest speakers at several Forums throughout California.
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