Lead effectively using feedback

There's good news and bad news. Bad news first: Not all managers are leaders, and not all leaders are managers. Now the good news: Everyone can learn to make their environments a better place by applying effective leadership skills.Great leaders—in management positions and in peer-to-peer relationships—contribute mightily to the bottom line by creating positive environments wh...

11/01/1999


There's good news and bad news. Bad news first: Not all managers are leaders, and not all leaders are managers.

Now the good news: Everyone can learn to make their environments a better place by applying effective leadership skills.

Great leaders—in management positions and in peer-to-peer relationships—contribute mightily to the bottom line by creating positive environments where people make better products more quickly, which increases team motivation and customer satisfaction, according to the "Essentials of Business Leadership" seminar by Strategic Management Group (SMG, Philadelphia, Pa.). Increased customer satisfaction and team motivation lead to increased sales and greater shareholder value. The graphic, "Leadership Improves the Bottom Line," shows how the process feeds on itself, fueled by feedback. As the table illustrates, "Effective Feedback" should motivate, encourage, and guide, while creating a positive environment.

Knowing effective leadership skills helps people do their jobs better as motivational peers among coworkers, as project leaders, managers, or even as better family members, explains SMG instructor Chad Checketts.

Agility, alignment...

Mr. Checketts describes four leadership goals as agility, alignment (getting everyone on the same page), enablement (providing people with resources to get the work done), and development (encouraging and supporting individual and organizational learning).

"If we create an environment where others can meet their needs, then we can meet our own goals," Mr. Checketts says. How we do things can matter as much as what we do, he suggests. Seeking input is good, but those who do should follow through. Ask people how satisfying the work environment is and how it could improve are strong first steps.

"People like to be treated like they have a brain and that their thoughts are considered and sometimes implemented." Doing so helps create trust and respect, he says.

Motivators vary by person. Managers have a tendency to recognize money as the prime motivator, followed by job security, promotion, working conditions, and interesting work. Actually, Mr. Checketts says, people consider appreciation as most important, followed by being an "insider," sympathy for problems, and job security. Money ranks fifth.

Another difference between managers and others, is that managers generally focus on what needs to be done, while leaders—who can be everywhere—focus more on how we do it. "Most managers do too much managing and not enough leading. It's really something to which people need to devote a certain percentage of their time," advises Mr. Checketts.

For more information on SMG Inc., visit www.controleng.com/freeinfo .


Author Information

Mark T. Hoske, editor-in-chief, mhoske@cahners.com


Effective Feedback

Effective and timely feedback should motivate, encourage, and guide, while creating a positive environment. Dialogue that accompanies feedback should clarify what was done, look at results or consequences, and seek alternatives or ways to apply success to other areas.

Feedback should:

Be part of a dialogue;

Link to a specific observed behavior;

Reinforce what's positive in ways appropriate to personality;

Indicate where change is needed while maintaining dignity;

Happen formally and informally; and

Occur often, as close to the event as possible.

Source: Control Engineering with information from Strategic Management Group Inc.



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