FEEDBACKING AS A 21ST CENTURY LEADERSHIP TOOL

Feedbacking is a key leadership skill. Effective leaders equip themselves with the art of feedbacking. To the point, feedbacking is an art, a skill and a managerial tool used to engage colleagues on specific matters, for example, on performance, and how colleagues should do better. Leaders who give timely, appropriate, descent, good and constructive feedback, assertively, enjoy the art of leading teams to fix complex social and organizational situations. When leadership authors describe teamwork as the interactions among members in synergizing their potentials and resources to achieve a common goal, it is of no argument that the major ingredient for teams to work and function effectively would heavily depend on how feedbacking is used to inspire teams. Within the leader follower situation interactional framework, leaders use feedback as a monitoring tool. Within the same framework, followers also embark on peer-feedbacking to augment team

“…….Progressive leaders learn through feedbacking”

To meet the onerous responsibilities of workplace demands, 21st century leaders and people managers are encouraged to develop and design feedback techniques to get tasks done, effectively. At workplaces, feedbacking is suggestive to imply a counteractive information about something been or being implemented to the original cause for a subsequent progressive discussion or execution focusing on key outputs to facilitate a change. In other words, feedbacking is the communication of an assessed information about a process, an action, an inaction, or an event to its controlling source. So when teams bring information to a source and the source returns the input of a part of the output which is made up of a team’s contributions and suggestions and vice versa then feedbacking would be taking place. Feedbacking operates just as the actions within an electronic circuit or a controlled automatic device designed to improve performance with a self-corrective action.

Feedbacking also involves the whole process of having an amount of influence on matters or information by reacting to the situation and or information to influence a certain action.  Tamkin et al (2003) hint that leaders need the capacity to develop and empower colleagues, engage and consequently stretch teams to perform, build strategic partnerships and develop key relations internally and externally (horizontally and vertically), and more importantly, balance the rational and emotional sides of leadership. Progressive leaders learn through feedbacking. Leaders may use the single-loop learning approach to feedbacking which will be expanded within the discussions on leader reflections and leader after-event reviews. The beautiful approach to feedbacking is when leaders use the double-loop learning which allows leaders to give-out and take-in accordingly.

Corporate programmes for Mid-level managers programmes for example, are designed around feedbacking. Leaders who apply feedbacking as a good tool improve their interpersonal skills, oral and written communication skills, planning, goal setting and time management skills. Conger (1996) advises leaders to focus on their feedbacking skills. This is because leadership development in 21st century somewhat occurs very often in lifelike ambiguous situations and complex uncertain contexts. Locke and Latham (1987) suggested that a good goal setting process must always be complemented by feedback.  In effect, their argument can be stretched to say that no matter how SMART your goals are, it will not stand the test of time without effective feedbacking skills, as a leader. In the next episodes we’ll discuss how feedback works.

This is Leadership!

Author: Richard K. Ahenkorah

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