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The role of leadership feedback

An open and frequent communication path between leaders and employees helps to build trust, morale, and motivation. In the long run, this creates a more productive work environment for all parties involved.

Feedback is a cornerstone to development and a key part of employees’ success, however for it to be effective, it needs to be genuinely solicited by the leader so that employees can perform well within their role and the organisation. At the same time, frequent and meaningful feedback from employees provides leaders with a great deal of insight into employee opinions, concerns, and interests, helping leaders to address these matters in a professional manner and to demonstrate credibility.

Managing expectations

Leaders are in a position of responsibility for helping their employees meet performance expectations. They need to balance their own quality and quantity of work, while simultaneously keeping morale high, and when leaders and employees exchange feedback, it creates an environment that supports strong job performance. However, leaders have the opportunity to not only provide feedback about job performance but also to recognise and reward employees for their efforts. Highlighting strengths also helps to generate a sense of accomplishment and motivation. Gallup’s research found that 67 percent of employees whose managers focused on their strengths were fully engaged at work, compared to only 31 percent whose managers focused on their weaknesses. Recognition is linked to happiness at work in general and linked to cultural and business results such as retention and job satisfaction.

Performance reviews provide the employee with insight into how they and their work are viewed by others and help them identify strengths and weaknesses. The reviews are also a chance for the managers to give the employees feedback on their performance, to both praise them and correct any problems. In addition, performance reviews also allow for career planning or skill development. provide an opportunity to engage in a two-way dialogue about employee strengths and weaknesses, as well as train or mentor the employee to improve their job performance or to prepare her for additional responsibilities.

Learning through feedback

Providing feedback is one of the most critical management tasks, however, it often gets pushed down on managers’ to-do lists and the conversation only happens during annual performance reviews. Feedback is one of the primary levers leaders have to increase a sense of learning as receiving regular updates on personal performance as well as how the business is doing helps people feel valued and involved.

Research shows that a sense of progress is one of the most powerful motivators in the workplace, even stronger than pay. Encouraging people’s strengths by providing specific feedback on how they are helping your team or organisation helps them and your organisation to thrive. In return, a positive workplace culture drives employee engagement and productivity. According to Harvard’s research this creates psychological safety, which encourages the spirit of experimentation that is critical for innovation and growth. Psychological safety also improves learning and performance outcomes.

Becoming a good feedback-giver means proactively developing the skill of giving praise as well as constructive criticism. At Acumen, we pride ourselves in offering training and development that gives managers practical tools to help solve real-life challenges. We offer an extensive menu of courses, workshops, and coaching programs, ranging from communication skills to executive leadership development. In most cases, we design the interventions specifically for each client, but we also offer a wide range of off-the-shelf programs for those who prefer this approach. For more information about our programs please contact Simon at


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