Leverage two-way communicationMy last blog looked at using multi-rater feedback to pinpoint our leadership location. This is proving to be twice as accurate as self-assessment in identifying leadership strengths that we can magnify toward exceptional leadership.

Not only does feedback help leaders build strengths — or identify fatal flaws that could derail their career — asking for and responding to feedback creates a powerful shift in perception of everyone around the leaders. See “Feedback’s Huge Impact on Perceived Honesty and Integrity” for an intriguing look at research on how making a real effort to improve based on feedback dramatically escalates a leader’s perceived honesty and integrity.

Extraordinary leaders not only look for opportunities to get feedback, they’re also skilled at giving feedback. Zenger Folkman’s research shows the powerful impact of feedback on percentile scores of employee engagement:

  • Manager neither asks for, nor gives feedback
  • Manager doesn’t ask, but gives feedback
  • Manager asks to receive feedback, but doesn’t give feedback
  • Manager both asks for and gives feedback

The last line shows what a dramatic impact two-way feedback has on boosting employee engagement. What’s not shown in this study is how the quality of feedback given by managers impacts engagement. No doubt, higher quality feedback will send engagement levels soaring even higher.

In his Forbes column, “The 7 Best And Worst Criticisms From A Boss (And Why They Matter So Much)”, Joe Folkman provides a list of seven “worst critiques” or feedback from a manager balanced with a list of seven “best critiques” or much more effective feedback.

Use Joe’s worst critiques as a handy checklist to determine how many of these traps you and/or the managers in your organization fall into. Then use Joe’s seven how-to examples for the best feedback as a very helpful primer in framing feedback to be the most constructive and useful. These approaches dramatically increase the likelihood a leader’s feedback will be heard and acted upon with a resulting increase in engagement.

How are your feedback skills? How about the leaders in your organization? How do you know? Are you getting multi-rater feedback on your feedback skills?