Category Archives: Leadership

Giving Effective Feedback

Feedback can be really tough both for the giver and the receiver. If handled badly, with poor preparation and a total lack of emotional intelligence, it can do a lot of damage. However, constructive feedback delivered with integrity and a genuine intention can be the greatest gift you can give to another individual. It can provide significant development opportunities and specific insights into an individual reaching their full potential.

Coaching and continuous feedback is listed as a key trend in the Deloitte Human Capital Trends 2017 report, and research conducted by Gallup into millennials (those born between 1980 and 1996) and reported in How Millennials Want to Work and Live highlights their requirement for continuous feedback in order to develop their strengths. Millennials are passionate about their career development and see their managers as coaches who care about it, too.

The relationship between manager and an employee represents a vital link in performance management. Communication and effective influencing is crucial for that relationship to succeed.

Regular, constructive feedback is a key facet in leaders/managers developing and nurturing the talent in their teams which drives significant performance improvement. Too often, feedback is stored up and given in an end-of-year performance review as part of the feedback sandwich – praise/criticism/praise.

Elements of successful feedback


One of the most significant elements of successful feedback is the frequency. It is so important to keep it regular – ideally on a weekly basis. It does not have to be a very formal process; a simple check-in over coffee can be very effective.

Be specific

When giving feedback, aim to be as specific as possible. For example, you might refer to an instance where they didn’t participate in a meeting or listen to someone else’s point of view.

Focus on the behaviour, not the person. Refer to the behaviour exhibited only and be sure not to make it seem like a personal attack. Using the SBI model (situations, behaviour, impact) can be really useful and keeps the feedback objective.


High levels of trust and respect must exist to give and receive feedback. Be aware of how trust is being nurtured in the overall relationship.


The intention of feedback is for the recipient to learn, move forward and become a better employee. It’s rooted in genuine concern for the person – it is not to score points!


Be aware of emotions during the conversation. Be aware of how you are delivering your message and how the person receiving feedback is taking it. Are they defensive or upset? Acknowledge your intention and the reason for the feedback. Acknowledge their emotions. When an employer feels high levels of trust and the want to develop their career further, they are more likely to receive feedback in a positive way and learn from it.

Mutual understanding

The objective of providing feedback is to get to a mutual understanding – not to prove someone right or wrong. Identify your contribution to the issue. This will build trust and your ability to influence.


Don’t use the word “BUT” when delivering constructive criticism. When “but” is used in a conversation, it negates everything that was said prior to it! Instead, try to end the conversation with positive reinforcement and a commitment to agreeing the next steps forward.

Constructive feedback handled well is the greatest gift both for the giver and receiver. It takes commitment and practice but can be very rewarding.


From Command and Control to Climate Control

Employee Engagement is the number 1 HR Leadership priority for 2017 (Deloitte HC report). With Brexit and the policies promised by newly elected President Trump – we are entering a period of uncertainty and ambiguity for many businesses.   Neuroscience has proven that uncertainty and increased stress can shut down the logical part of our minds and we focus on survival. This brings immense challenges to the world of work and leadership.

That coupled with output from the latest Gallup research that employees in the 20- 36 year age group are the least engaged generation in the workplace so far, with many changing jobs and actively looking for new roles.

The Gallup study highlights how millennials are pushing organsiations to reinvent how they lead and manage. The findings highlight what all 21st century workers seek from work today.

It also tallies with a famous HBR article – Why should anyone be led by you!

The underlying principles for driving engagement among millennials and indeed all workers lies in the climate that a leader has created in the organisation. How does it feel to work around here – am I encouraged and inspired to stretch myself to my full potential?

Research has shown that leadership climate is a known predicter of employee engagement and empowerment directly relating to an organisations financial performance.

Employees are over 4 times more likely to be engaged working in an emotionally intelligent leadership climate.

The climate of any organisation is greatly influenced by the Emotional Intelligence of its leaders.

Key Questions leaders could ask themselves

  • What is my mindset? Attitude – Am I creating a mindful/sthriving climate that builds long term success
  • How am I feeling? How self-aware am I of my feelings and those around me?
  • How do I choose to behave – do I take time out to reflect on situations and prepare for key conversations and meetings – what is my objective , what fingerprint do I want to leave.

Measuring Climate 

measuring climate

The Leadership Climate indicator model (JCAglobal) measures 12 key leadership behaviours that demonstrate the prevalence of 4 leadership styles – Inspiring, Including, Controlling and Withdrawing leadership.

It explores how the tone set by the organisations leaders is felt throughout the company and measures the impact this is having on perfomance, well-being and innovation.

Advice for Building a Thriving/Flourishing climate

  • Build Self-awareness – Leaders who are aware of their own behaviours and those of their team are closer to the reality of what is really going on in the business.
  • Ensure all employees are clear on the Purpose of the organisation – Why do we exist? Why does this organisation matter?
  • Provide Regular Feedback – encourage an environment where feedback is seen as development and an opportunity to reduce blindspots and stretch.
  • Build Trust – Internally with employees, team members and externally with customers and suppliers
  • Create and atmosphere of openness
  • Stretch and Empower individuals – don’t micromanage – Encourage responsibility
  • Value and appreciate others

Make 2017 a productive and effective year, focus on creating the climate for success.

Fiona Flynn


Foresight Corporate Development