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

Ready to make feedback the star of the show? Check out the book store and order a copy of Developing World Class Leaders: The Ultimate Guide to Leadership Development today.

To receive a copy of our Leadership Competency Inventory, complete with 64 competencies, just send an email

Growth usually takes on one of two very distinct pathways: a linear path and an exponential one. The latter sounds great, right? Just pull a few levers and watch your organization reap the benefits of exponential growth, making all of your dreams come true. Wait till that next quarterly review, you’ll show them you mean business!

Except that isn’t the entire story, and consistent leadership development results are better than exponential growth that isn’t sustainable.

So why talk about exponential growth in the domain of creating better leaders in the workplace? Well, because it never hurts to have something to aspire to. It never hurts to see what can indeed happen when consistent action is scaled out. That’s the key to making leadership development a potent component in today’s fast paced business environment.

What does feedback really mean? We talk about feedback, but we know that not all feedback is created equal. Feedback should begin with empathy, which is truly understanding the other person's perspective. From there, we want to come forward with evidence that backs up the statements we're going to make to that person. Direct, professional, and straightforward is the name of the game here.

Feedback and accountability go hand in hand within the world of strategically assessing leadership strengths and weaknesses.

What Comprehensive Feedback Isn't

Sometimes it's important to highlight what something isn't before we can really start visualizing what it is constructively. If you want to build or even transform current feedback and accountability processes, here's what to avoid most:

  • Relying on one assessment. There is no perfect assessment, and it's critical to avoid idolizing any assessment as the One True Measure of performance

  • Keeping resources too narrow. This isn't about trying to use as few resources as possible. Pull out all of the tools and see what's reasonable in terms of the specific leader being refined for greater opportunities (the ultimate goal)

  • Don't settle for just covering strengths and weaknesses in terms of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Full insight requires full analysis; KPIs are just a shortcut.

Collecting quantitative data is important, but don’t skip the opportunities to collect qualitative data along the way as well. For example,

Breaking Down Strategic Leadership Assessment - The Best Path Forward for Growth

In order to get the growth needed to stay competitive, it's time to go back to the drawing board. What does strategic leadership assessment look like in action? Well, the important point is that it begins with realizing the end goal: you're getting insight into an individual's makeup and identifying what their true strengths and weaknesses are. We're going back to the 3D Leadership model as one of the key foundational points of this plan.

Staying the Course

Motivation is a big topic in the business world because we're used to watching people quit. Why do people quit before they've reached the finish line? Sometimes it's a matter of not being able to visualize the end. Or perhaps it's not having enough milestones to reflect upon as they move deeper into their journey. Not everyone will finish their leadership development plan, or approach it with enthusiasm.

Reassurance isn't a bad thing, and it can help bolster morale to the point where employees buy back in. For entry-level employees, leadership development can feel impossible because they're starting their journey with a lot to cover. For the more seasoned leader, development often takes a "been there, done that" feeling.

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

Digging into the roots of better leadership development isn’t an easy journey. Yet it is absolutely essential for companies of all sizes.

Did you miss the deep dive on assessments? Check out the Strategic View of Hiring podcast episode, Exploring the World of Assessments.

Check out the book store and order a copy of Developing World Class Leaders: The Ultimate Guide to Leadership Development today.

To receive a copy of our Leadership Competency Inventory, complete with 64 competencies, just send an email.