How Skilled Leaders can give Positive Feedback

By | August 3, 2018

[August 3, 2018]  A fundamental duty of leaders is to find opportunities to provide useful information to others and deliver positive feedback.  It is the embodiment of great leadership to teach, coach, and mentor in such a way that the feedback is received as a stimulus to internal motivation.

It is no surprise that someone who is able to do this will be respected and admired for being a fair but tough leader.  There are many resources to help us learn about a way to give positive feedback.  One theme among many is that the feedback must be clear and concise, as well as delivered in such a way that the one receiving it is not emotionally turned off by an unempathetic approach.

Here are 10 ways a skilled leader can give positive feedback:

  1. Be open to receiving feedback themselves and do so politely.
  2. Be consistent in treating people respectfully and flexibly.
  3. Take on a formal mentor and coaching role.
  4. Provide helpful, frequent, and supportive feedback.
  5. Listen carefully to what others have to say about your feedback.
  6. Understand the problem or issue about which the feedback is given.
  7. Be prepared to reinforce the feedback as needed.
  8. Lay out clear and understandable expectations.
  9. Follow-up to ensure the feedback is working.
  10. Take responsibility for the feedback’s results.

We often see feedback given in less than ideal circumstances.  We all should remember that leadership means to convince others to do things they would not normally do … because they want to do it.  It is easy to give negative feedback but the results often lead to failure since such methods elicit little internal motivation (they will not want to do it).

Leadership is also about unifying people to a common cause.  Only through positive feedback and the setting of a positive place to work and have a family can this be achieved.

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Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article everyday on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

21 thoughts on “How Skilled Leaders can give Positive Feedback

  1. Gil Johnson

    A number of sage comments today and thanks for the list of 10 suggestions to improve our skills on giving good feedback. I like the one that says you should also show that you can receive it politely. That’s called leading by example.

  2. Delf A. "Jelly"

    Good comments today about the value of giving positive feedback. I think this is more of a modern phenomenon and a very recent change in the way leaders work. Some may argue with me or quibble a bit but I think if you look back on human history (as best we can), when feedback was given it was generally a mix with a large dose of negatives included.

  3. Andrew Dooley

    I read this blog every day. THis is one of the more useful articles and I thank you for it, Gen. Satterfield. I would like to also add that “respect” in its many forms is at the heart of what you have written. Thanks for reading my comments.

  4. Dennis Mathes

    I find it interesting that of all the self-help books out there that none of them address this topic. I mean that it garners a chapter or two in leadership books but no book dedicated to this important topic. Why not?

  5. Max Foster

    This list takes me back to the time I was a young man and team leader of a construction crew that built houses for rich people. Good job. Good pay. But my boss was a jerk and violated every one of these suggested leader skills on giving good and useful feedback. My job was to translate the bad into something good. That’s how I become a good leader.

    1. Ed Berkmeister

      Good story Max and good to hear from you again and helping us focus on what is relevant. Too many bosses are ‘jerks’ like you said. Our job is to steer them away from those terrible habits and toward positive ways to give feedback.

    2. Max Foster

      Thanks Gen. Satterfield and also thank to others who like my writings.

  6. Jonnie the Bart

    Another useful and educational article for us. I would like to add that having respect for other’s opinions is also a good skill to have for leaders who want to go places and get things done.

  7. Georgie M.

    Ha, a great list. I would add that being considerate of others is one of the best behaviors a leader can have. It’s simple. Treat folks with respect.

  8. Doug Smith

    Nice list that I wish I’d had as a young man.

  9. Danny Burkholder

    I always struggled in giving positive feedback during my career. In fact, I didn’t even know that feedback could be either positive or negative (or something of a mix). Thanks for a good post today.

  10. Army Captain

    Truly a difficult skill to fully master.

    1. Max Foster

      Yes, I agree and some leaders don’t even want to bother. Why? Good question to ask them.

Comments are closed.