Giving the Gift of Feedback

Amanda Zinke, MBA, MSOD, PCC. This past year feedback came up time and time again in my coaching and leadership development programs. First was the question of how to give feedback remotely. Then it was about the standards and expectations during a pandemic. It was a joy to see leaders flexing, being accommodating, and embracing new ways of leading. Managers met these challenges head on. Lately, however, two topics keep popping up. First — how do you give your boss feedback? And second — why are people having yearly reviews with negative feedback they have not heard before?

Help Your Senior Leaders Be Better and Do Better

There is a reason we do 360s for leaders in executive coaching — it allows time and space for employees to confidentially give feedback to their bosses. But not all leaders do a 360 and not all companies have a feedback process or a system in place. Yet most leaders would benefit so much from the feedback their team could give them. Staff and leaders alike, I implore you to give you senior leaders and peers feedback regularly. I know it can be a bit daunting. But think of the benefits.

Welcome All of the Feedback Your Receive

And senior leaders, I ask that you not only accept, but actively solicit feedback from your team. It will be important to listen deeply and empathetically, and thank the giver of the feedback. Defensiveness and debate are not your friend here. The more you can actively welcome the feedback (even if you disagree), the more feedback will come your way. Understanding our impact on others, even if unintended is a key to increasing our awareness. This awareness clears a path to future behavioral change, allowing for more honest and connected relationships, and teams who feel respected and valued.  

Giving the Gift of Feedback Early and Often

For many of my clients, their yearly reviews are a wonderful conversation about the year, their achievements, progress, and associated compensation. And of course, there is usually discussion of their strengths, weaknesses, and their future career aspirations. Occasionally however, one of my clients is negatively surprised with new feedback. I really cannot stress enough that this just should not happen. If you have feedback for your direct report, share it immediately! Everyone deserves the gift of feedback so that they have an opportunity to understand the issue and have time to rectify the situation and/or change their behavior.   

Make a Resolution to Give Feedback

It’s not too late to make a resolution to be brave, give feedback to your direct reports frequently, and to your manager, so that individuals and the organization can all benefit. Take action now and block some time on your calendar to check in with yourself and to give feedback to your team and your boss. If you do this once a quarter, imagine the progress you would see in the next year!

For more about giving and receiving feedback, and growing your leadership skills, schedule a consultation with Amanda.