I am sure that great leaders crave feedback.
One truly becomes a leader by consciously creating room for consistent improvement. Even if somebody has led a team for most of their career, they still seek feedback to maintain quality and make the required enhancements.
Employees Mirror their Leaders
Research has shown that positive work culture depends on a leader who inspires, motivates, and directs their employees with a clear vision. When an employee is assessing his workplace, its culture plays a massive role in productivity and efficiency.
A leader's responsibility is to set the tone in the workplace, and his employee follows suit. When a leader models positive, respectful, and responsible behavior, employees mirror the same in their work and thus reflect a sound management system.
Employees are keen observers and try to implement it in their attitude and engagement around the workplace. Employees may take inspiration with how a leader conducts themselves, navigates challenges, resolves conflict, and how they treat their superiors and subordinates.
A leader's role is to provide feedback and appreciation and enlighten their employees with the right work attitude and convey a strong message to show that there's always room for improvement in the system and themselves.
When leaders accept that they're not perfect and are always seeking to adapt and learn new things that fit their role and responsibility, it opens the floor for employees to give their leaders feedback.
Leaders understand the implication of conversations that involve the exchange of feedback on employees. It can make employees feel included, valued, and truly part of a team. Feedback systems build trust among employees and build a team culture. But when a leader is seeking input from team members, it's to work on their shortcomings that involve the self, team, goals, and organization. Unfortunately, though, leaders don't receive constructive feedback and instead are at the receiving end of generic and flattering feedback.
What kind of feedback do Leaders usually receive?
When leaders seek feedback, the reports are not as honest, as employees want to avoid conflict with a person of power that can interfere with their career growth. Their feedback is mostly in the form of praises or agreeing to everything that the leader has to say, which is not helpful when looking to improve your skills. Employees are also of the perceived notion that the leaders are know-it-alls and hold their skills and leadership qualities in high regard. Some employees also refrain from providing feedback as they don't want to hurt their leader's confidence. With feedbacks, employees sometimes do not take cues that their leader is asking for valuable inputs from the team due to their impression that the leader is perfect. But that can never be the case.
How can organizations tackle this problem to regulate a healthy feedback system that benefits employees and leaders?
The best approach is to bridge the gap between the employee and the leader's communication. The leader must work towards clearing any presumptions or fear that exists in their employees. They must let their employees know how valuable their feedback is to the overall development and progress as a team. Feedback systems have to be acknowledged as a two-way street that exists between employees and leaders. Constructive feedback should be kept voluntary at all times possible, instead of restricting it to be annual, biannual, or quarterly.
Leaders must not be exempted from receiving or giving feedback at any point and must actively participate to notice the impact of a continuous feedback culture.
"We all need people who give us feedback. That's how we improve"- Bill Gates.