Feedback – An Essential Ingredient for Every Business

Image of a box with the word Feedback on it and hand putting a letter insideFeedback is a gift – a gift that we should be giving our people every day. Feedback is the cheapest and most powerful, yet most underused, development tool that we have at our disposal. It is our responsibility, as leaders, to create an environment where feedback is part of our operating DNA. Feedback helps our teams get and stay on track, it serves as a measure of their progress towards their goals and motivates them to continue to grow and get better. Feedback also creates an opportunity for our teams to let us know how we are going, both as an organisation and as their leader.  It is essential in every business – yet it is one of those tasks that most of us dread or shy away from.

Successful leaders understand the power of effective feedback and are proactive in seeking feedback from their teams on a regular basis.  They create an environment where all staff feel safe in providing timely and constructive feedback which in turn helps the leaders make informed decisions.  I recently came across an article by Michael McKinney titled ‘10 Questions to Ask Your Employees Every Quarter’, which affirms the practice idea of reaching out to your team members and seeking their feedback on a regular basis.  The author suggests there are 10 question that need to be asked on a regular basis to provide leaders with valuable information that will help you make informed decision. The 10 questions are:

1 – How satisfied are you with your team? Asking this question can provide you with an opportunity to work toward fixing any issues that have the potential to cause dissatisfaction within the team, and to ensure your employees remain content (and less likely to leave).

2 – If the best place you’ve ever worked was a 10, how would you rate this organisation? If the answer is not 10, then use this as an opportunity to ask what was better at the previous organisation. Don’t take things personally or get offended.

3 – How well does your leader support and develop you?  As a leader, you have a responsibility to help enable your employees to become the best version of themselves.

4 – How well does your leader hold you accountable? Employees will be driven to give their best when they know they are being held accountable, and teams who are highly accountable will always outperform those who aren’t.

5 – How well does your leader hold others accountable? It is nice to think that you are treating everyone on the team the same, but it isn’t always the case. The same high standards must apply to all team members.

6 – How well does your leader communicate with you? As a leader, you must be able to clearly communicate your expectations, and to ask questions to confirm understanding.

7 – How likely are you to recommend your organisation to a friend? If this topic came up, think about how each of your employees would respond and how likely they’d be to promote the organisation as a good place to work.

8 – Rate the level of trust within your team.  Ideally, we are looking for a 10 or as close to as possible – these teams have high trust, a positive culture and everyone is working toward a shared goal.

9 – Do you feel adequately recognised for your contribution?  If you aren’t recognising the sacrifices your employees are making, why would they continue to work hard?

10 – How likely are you to further opportunities at your organisation?   Not everyone wants to be a leader, but asking this question is a great way to identity your potential future leaders.

These questions are just suggestions. You should seek to develop your own questions that provide you with an opportunity to better understand how your people feel about your organisational and your leadership and what it is that needs to be addressed to improve the levels of engagement.  It is important that you are communicating with your team members on a regular basis and demonstrating your unrelenting commitment to seeking out their honest, critical feedback.  As Ken Blanchard says ‘Feedback is the breakfast of champions’, so go forth and feast on the breakfast of champions.

Happy Leading!