Feedback is the basis for individual and organizational development

Feedback is the basis for individual and organizational development


Giving effective feedback is one of the most difficult leadership tasks there is. At the same time, it is one of the most effective drivers of individual and organizational success. Without feedback, we have no chance to learn and grow. Feedback fosters creativity and innovation. Finally, feedback gives us a sense of security in knowing where we stand and what our strengths, weaknesses and blind spots are. Remember, there is no such thing as failure, there is only feedback.

The term “feedback” was coined in the 1860s during the Industrial Revolution to describe the way energy, impulse, or signal outputs in a mechanical system are returned to their starting point. In the context of communication, this means: Feedback is helpful information or criticism about a past action or behavior from an individual or group who can use that information to adjust and improve current and future actions and behaviors.

Feedback is a key factor in career development and productivity. The McKinsey “War for Talent” study found that feedback-based development opportunities such as mentoring, coaching, and informal feedback are considered absolutely essential to career development, but they are not yet sufficiently provided by organizations. Companies do offer traditional seminars and training or additional goals and special assignments; however, these were not seen by respondents as important to their development.

The art of having a feedback conversation requires having a clear intention, being fully present, and listening deeply. Regardless of the type of feedback, it is important to remain compassionate and supportive. Feedback should be a source of positive motivation so that the person can accept the feedback, improve, or continue to perform exceptionally.

An important step in making feedback tangible and meaningful is to prepare well for the conversation, for example, by using a helpful framework. The Center for Creative Leadership’s “S.B.I.” feedback model is a tool that helps contextualize feedback and increase its effectiveness by describing observed behaviors and the impact of those behaviors on others.

  • S – Situation: describes the “when” and “where” of the behavior exhibited.
  • B – Behavior: Describes the behavior of the other person and includes specific actions and actions that the feedback provider actually observed.
  • I – Impact: Describes the effects of this behavior on the feedback giver and others, as well as consequences for the team’s performance.

In our Hogan feedbacks, we take a similar approach. We first describe the behaviors on autopilot (HPI & HDS) and what reputation comes with it. Then we go into the consequences and how these seem to contradict high value motivators (MVPI). And we discuss specific recommendations for action on how to implement intention, behavior and impact more congruently and consistently.

Giving and receiving feedback in organizations is a complex and unpredictable process. There appear to be discrepancies between preferences in giving and receiving feedback. The vast majority of leaders avoid giving feedback, especially negative feedback. Managers consistently say they find giving negative feedback stressful and difficult. But virtually every:r employee in a company wants more feedback.

Don’t we all know those brilliant people in the office who keep getting passed over for promotions? Often, their lack of cross-functional skills is the main reason. Despite their intelligence, they are not perceived as “management material.” If only they received honest feedback from their peers, they might discover important information that will help them avoid years of frustration and self-doubt.

At RELEVANT, we use Hogan Assessments every day in the selection and development of people and organizations. Hogan is the world’s leading provider of research-based assessment solutions. RELEVANT helps organizations use their personality assessments to reduce turnover and increase productivity by hiring the right people, developing key talent, and identifying leadership potential. At RELEVANT, we connect data and personality so companies make fair, robust decisions, leaders effectively create safe and humane environments, and everyone’s potential is unleashed. If you want to turn feedback into a source of positive motivation, contact us. As always, we’re just a phone call or email away.