Providing employees with feedback is one of the most important leadership skills. You need your leaders to be providing feedback to their employees on a more regular basis, but how do you do it?

Before providing a more comprehensive guide to feedback which you can sign up to, here are some easy things you can put in place to ensure your leaders are giving feedback every day.

Introduce simple approaches

In the absence of formal training, simply introducing leaders to some simple tools can be a quick win. Approaches such as BOOSTScaling,  SBI, provide a framework to start from.

Furthermore, using questions to explore how people think they have been performing can make feedback more inclusive. You should therefore encourage them to ask questions such as: ‘How is the projecting coming along? What is working not working for you? What areas need some focus? What’s stopping this work from being where you want it to be?’ 

When you set the expectation that your leaders should be providing regular feedback, you will make sure that this stays at the forefront of your leaders’ minds.

Praise is good, feedback is better

leadership skills importance of giving feedback

You should encourage leaders to highlight and comment on where they see good performance, as this will develop good habits and hones leadership skills.

But this isn’t a substitute for quality feedback. Creating formal and informal opportunities to give employees information on how they are doing will make feedback part of your and their leadership culture.

Embrace giving negative feedback

Nobody enjoys giving negative or difficult feedback. But this one of the most important leadership skills a leader can possess.

You should share with your leaders that it’s ok for them to feel this way. Encourage them to find feedback approaches they are comfortable in using. You could get them to plan and practice and share their own experiences. And also give them feedback on the approach and style they intend to use.

Explore why they don’t have time to give feedback

One of the most common objections I hear from leaders is that they simply do not have the time to give regular feedback to their teams.

If you hear this then there is something more fundamental happening. This could be the wrong mindset, fear, wrong priorities, ineffective practice or continually poor crises management could be at play.

Whatever the cause, this should be something that you are exploring with your leaders. Perhaps your leaders need to be coached to change their mindset and hone important leadership skills.

Focus on the positive

Criticism on its own is disempowering and not healthy. But research by John Gottman on children and relationships shows that a â€˜magic ratio‘ exists.

By using a ratio of 5:1 of positive to negative feedback and interaction, this reinforces healthy behaviours and creates employee satisfaction.

Creating their own leadership approaches, honing leadership skills

You should actively encourage your leaders to develop their own leadership skills. Encouraging your leaders not to ‘fit into your mould’ will help them to become their own leader with their own (feedback) approaches.

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Supporting and coaching your leaders to understand how to embed these approaches will be effective too. You can ensure they are developing important leadership skills by challenging them (through feedback) when you see them slipping into old habits. This will keep a consistent, feedback-based approach at the forefront of their minds.

Developing their leadership styles

You should take the time to explore the concept of situational leadership with your leaders. This will awaken them to a range of leadership styles and leadership skills which they can apply to all of their employees and a range of situations.

They will recognise there is not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to leadership. This will therefore transform their understanding of themselves and the people they lead.

Need more advice on feedback or other important leadership skills?

Senior leaders need their reports to deliver daily, ensuring performance is maintained and improved. The ability to provide regular feedback is therefore a platform for cultural change around performance. Above all, ensuring your leaders are competent and confident in providing feedback is critical to yours and their success.

Contact Abintus today for more advice and support surrounding all areas of leadership.

Nick Howell provides coaching and training across all sectors as his focus is simply on ‘people development’. He helps senior managers create the best possible leaders and managers for their teams. Leaders with the right behaviours, skills and mindsets.