Planning, strategising, managing cash flow; these are all practical essentials of leadership. Do them well, and you will be a good leader. But to be a great leader? That’s something more intangible.
It’s about people management and development. A great leader helps their people learn and grow. A great leader develops others, guides and mentors – and creates space for individuals to thrive, initiate and show their own skills.
John C. Maxwell is known to have said to his mentees; “The good news is I care about you – the bad news is I will be honest”. And it’s that honesty that is one of the essentials of leadership – the honesty to give true, real feedback.
It’s amazingly hard to give feedback sometimes – why? Well, we worry about the negative, rather than focussing on the positive – will I hurt their feelings? What if they leave my business? What if I upset them to the point where they go downhill rather than up?
Yet surely giving honest and constructive feedback is more about helping others to grow; in fact, to some extent it is protecting the individual from serious downfall and actually allowing them to step up and be noticed.
If we as leaders don’t give honest feedback – how often do you end up kicking yourself? How many times have you thought ‘I wish I had said something at X point’; because an inability to provide feedback can impact not only on the person you are trying to assist, but also on your own business.
If you approach feedback from a place of care, compassion and wanting to support and guide further evolution and improvement, then it will be not only something that is well given, but well received.
At the end of the day, if you do speak out in this way, it is up to the individual to take ownership of what they do with any feedback; but you owe it to them to give it and avoid any complaining or ‘if only’ moments later on.
Only this last week I struggled for a couple of days with how I was going to give constructive feedback and input to someone I respect, admire and who is kicking some serious goals. I know this individual has the potential to kick even more goals, to become even more successful and to step up to their next challenge in business growth – but only when certain business disciplines are put in place along with ownership of the individual’s own journey.
I approached the conversation from a place of care and compassion. The feedback was well received and steps have already been taken to make a tricky situation more manageable. I know that they not only appreciated what I had to say, but the way that I said it.
If you want to give someone an opportunity for personal growth, and the chance to become even better than they are, then to not give feedback is to do them a disservice. You are actively enabling them to continue on, if not a rocky path, then a shallow and less satisfying one than what they may be truly be capable of.
So empower them. Help them take control – and in the process, you will find that it not only lifts their burden, but yours as well. Because you are showing that you give a damn, and that is a very great gift indeed.
Learn more about how to take a courageous step forward at our LBD Business Seminars in Sydney and Melbourne on 22 and 30 May respectively. Click here to find out more and to book now.
For Sydney attendees – a great opportunity the following evening, with David Solomon offering two-for-one tickets to the global premiere of his new workshop – concentrating on getting your business to play to a packed house, rather than shot-run performances – or an opening night flop! Click here for full details and the special ticket offer – available until 16 May.