Developing Transformational Employees: Focus on Feedback

Posted by Chuck Kocher
On August 7, 2017

Your employees are a crucial key to transforming your company. Good employees make a good company. Transformational employees can help transform your existing company into a high-growth powerhouse. So, what’s the key to developing transformational employees? Focus on Feedback.

You don’t transform and elevate employees with just an occasional pat on the back or a kind word of encouragement from the CEO. Little perks and small incentives won’t do the job, either. There’s nothing wrong with those things, but they won’t give you the results you want.

Author Kim Scott (a CEO coach at Dropbox, Qualtrics, Twitter, and other tech companies) recently wrote a piece for the Harvard Business Review in which she listed some “Don’ts & Dos” for interaction with employees. You can read her article here, but here are the highlights.

  • Don’t focus on socializing. Do listen and give a damn.
  • Don’t focus on chitchat. Do focus on feedback.
  • Don’t focus on perks. Do focus on achieving results collaboratively.
  • Don’t be promotion-obsessed. Do focus on career conversations.

If you really want to engage your employees, there needs to be great feedback—from them and from you. You need to get honest, unvarnished feedback from your employees. Don’t just fish for the information you want or for the information that will make you look good or feel good. Ask questions that will reveal what’s really going on. As a leader, however, you need to make sure that you’ve developed your listening skills to that you truly hear the feedback you’re getting.

When your employees ask you questions, don’t give them boilerplate information. Give them honest feedback. It’s understood that not all information is appropriate for all employees, but give them real responses to their questions.

What makes feedback truly helpful? How can you ensure that these conversations don’t turn into gripe sessions? Make sure that when you give or receive feedback it’s pertinent to your mission and vision. That’s one reason having a clear vision is so critical. And it’s also why making sure your employees know it and embrace it is so important.

Are you making sure that there are opportunities for your employees to provide leadership with honest, helpful feedback? Are you doing the same thing to ensure that employees are receiving the same kind of feedback from their leadership team? Is that feedback based on clear metrics that outline specific expectations and responsibilities?

Having a friendly chat with your staff is a good thing. It helps cement your relationships with your employees. But it won’t develop them and it won’t transform your company. To do that you need deliberate, focused feedback that can lead to making specific changes.