Leeds Business School

Why bother to give feedback?

We want all our team members to perform well in their roles, deliver their results, and hopefully have an enjoyable time while they are doing it.

However, having picked the right person, provided appropriate training and made clear what is expected, can managers have any further influence?

Absolutely! They can provide ongoing feedback to reduce the risk of things going wrong.

Managers are often intimidated by the prospect of giving feedback, imagining it as all about having difficult conversations about poor performance. While it’s true that some feedback conversations will be about poor performance, these don’t need to be difficult. Nobody comes to work to perform poorly, and it’s in no-one’s interest to let it keep happening once a problem has been identified. So managers need to be honest with the person concerned – and, crucially, offer the necessary support to enable them to improve.

More importantly, not all feedback conversations should be about poor performance. By contrast, we should be acknowledging and celebrating good performance, confirming and sharing colleagues’ good practice. This both helps motivate people and shows others that good work will be supported and rewarded.

Regardless of the title that we use to describe feedback - positive, affirmative, constructive or developmental - there are huge benefits to be gained by making a point of giving it honestly and often:

  • It promotes openness and transparency, so providing a gateway to effective communication;
  • It demonstrates that you care about the team and its performance;
  • It encourages everyone to reflect on their own performance which makes personal development easier;
  • It ultimately improves effectiveness and efficiency by helping people improve and get the most out of the resources available.

You have probably started thinking of additional benefits that could be added to this list – and that’s exactly why we should bother to give feedback!

Jill Goodwin

Leadership Development Consultant / Leeds Business School

Jill is a senior training professional, who utilises her experience to deliver programmes to challenge abilities, behaviours, and values within organisations.

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