In Chapter 5 of Developing World Class Leaders: The Ultimate Guide to Leadership Development, feedback becomes the true heart of leadership development. Hindsight and feedback go hand in hand. Many events of hindsight are just opportunities for feedback.

Leaders collectively lament that they didn’t have enough time to gather data, deliver input, and impart lessons that could have avoided unpleasant business decisions and adverse outcomes.

Running from adversity rarely does anyone good, and while businesses aren’t indeed people, the adage about the goose and the proverbial gander still applies. Feedback is vital at all levels of the organization, even when the titles and responsibilities expand. If anything, the business should make the case that it’s more important than ever before to have vital feedback to go with strong leadership teams.

 

Sowing New Seeds Within Leadership Development

 

Companies looking to build feedback loops that work should consider the points below as a good starting place:

 

  • Look at all of the raw inputs for feedback. How many ways can a professional capture the impact of their performance? In other words, how can someone understand whether they’re doing a good job or not? 

  • Take a random sampling of existing feedback. Was there any follow-up on the feedback given or received? Did performance change? Is there evidence of measurable impact?

  • Is everyone receiving feedback within the organization, or only the entry and mid-level professionals? It’s time to not just have an open-door policy in name but indeed in spirit as well. 

  • Are there consistent feedback reviews? If not, why? If so, how often? 

While these questions are condensed, it could take time to reflect on what they mean for your specific organization. These questions require honesty, openness, transparency, and even a hefty dose of humility. 

 

The Rising Tide of Leadership Development Requires Feedback

It’s said that a rising tide lifts all boats, and leadership development is truly the wave that refreshes and replenishes a company at every level. The marketplace gives companies feedback in many ways, including rising and falling sales. Yet internal feedback is often overlooked, leaving inefficient and even downright inaccurate processes in place to fester.

For example, when it comes to retention, we know that people stay when the company culture aligns with their values. Yet if there is no internal feedback, it is challenging to keep people from leaving for greener pastures. 

There is no rising tide to lift boats full of weary and even wary professionals without feedback. The war for talent has higher stakes than ever, and leadership development is a hot benefit that the best and brightest minds consider a requirement, not just something nice to have. 

 

Make Feedback the Point

It is often difficult for companies to incorporate feedback into the heart of leadership development. No one wants to do a lousy job, and feedback can often feel like a teacher holding a ruler, ready to scold a naughty student, rather than a tool to improve the company on multiple levels.

It’s time to make feedback the point without hurting people or creating more of a fear-based culture. One of the key hallmarks of a learning organization has always been whether people can get the feedback they need to grow without fear of losing their jobs over not having the most definite answer the first time.

The last thing that any organization needs is more fear. If fear solved problems within the business landscape, there wouldn’t be any need for leadership development. Alas, we know that decades of fear have solved nothing, yet turning the tide is truly worth everything. 

Isn’t it time we got clear about what we’re fighting for? 

Make feedback the point and watch everything change for good.

Dive Deeper Into Feedback Processes With Developing World Class Leaders: The Ultimate Guide to Leadership Development

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