What’s the right and the wrong way for senior leaders or managers to seek feedback from employees about their performance? McKinsey alum David Klein has some advice, as McKinsey is an organization obsessed with feedback and growth. His thoughts?
The Wrong Way. When seeking feedback, leaders should not approach staff directly because they will feel put on the spot and may not be honest. Instead, get the help of an intermediary – an HR Business Partner, executive coach, ombudsman, or technology tool – so people will tell you the truth. Additionally, if you ask for feedback from employees, you must act on it. There is nothing worse than seeking input from employees and then disregarding their thoughts.
The Right Way. Leaders should solicit feedback from the beginning of their tenure, but how they do it should change over time. In the beginning, employees were asked to rate David on a scale of 1 to 5 on things that were important, like the org’s values. As David and the company grew, the process matured to seek out a more holistic view of performance. A coach conducted 30- to 60-minute phone interviews with employees, relatives, and friends, and the coach synthesized the feedback into a report.
JILL, WHAT CAN I DO? 360-degree feedback is not popular. Employees usually are not honest, and leaders do not like to be evaluated by subordinates and colleagues. However, when done well, it benefits everyone immediately. By providing a confidential way for colleagues to provide feedback, a company gains valuable insights into leadership and the health of the organization. And, the feedback provides leaders with powerful knowledge into what is working and what isn’t. When using this feedback correctly, organizations can quickly take action and help leaders become better contributors in the company. Start down this path today by following, “The Right Way,” and watch employee engagement improve.