Business & Talent. Aligned.

How you manage talent spells the difference between success and failure. To gain a competitive edge, leaders must be prepared to address shifting economic, social and demographic trends that impact workforce performance. Stay informed with research, insights and advice from our leading industry experts. The world of work is changing. Is your company ready?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Feedback as mentoring

For managers, as much as for employees, the feedback session can be an event to dread. While the employee may feel like the lead in a horror movie, the manager sometimes faces the distressing prospect of having to deliver home truths at the risk of offending or, worse, demoralizing the employee. Even under the best of circumstances, the feedback session is rife with tension. It doesn’t have to be this way.

With the right approach, feedback sessions will be positive and rewarding for all concerned. One key is to frame the event correctly. Feedback should never just be about skills and capabilities, but should also include a discussion about career interests. Employees need a clear sense of their strengths and weaknesses, as well as their interests and what the organization expects of them so that they are equipped to help the organization achieve its goals.

A second key is to approach feedback as an open, collaborative effort. Give praise where praise is due. Ask questions and listen. Work together to set a course for enhanced performance.

A third key is frequency. A single annual performance review simply sets everyone on edge. Providing feedback routinely, however, demonstrates your continuing interest in and support for someone’s development. Feedback and mentoring become indistinguishable.


  1. Thats so true! But the challenge is, " Can we make receiving and giving feedback a part of the organisation culture?"
    If yes, how? Do we need a minimum level of maturity of the organisation?

  2. Hello Amit...Thank you for your comment and question.

    The level of maturity that should be in place is certainly not based on age nor experience. Rather it should be predicated on predisposition of both the giver and receiver of the feedback to agree that the goal is enhancement of performance. And there must be agreement that a "healthy ego" is in place. The "healthy ego" I am referring to here is one which understands fully that everyone has an opportunity to improve and the recommendations/suggestions to improve can come from any source within the organization. Listen, consider and act are the key words for this process. We recently published an article that provides managers with some practical advice on how to conduct career discussions and share the link:

    Hope this helps Amit.