At Solutions 21, we work with leaders around the world and in various stages of their career development. Universally, these leaders rank talent development near the top of their list, across the board. They ALL realize the need to continually develop next generation talent.

Recruiting and retaining top talent is a strategic advantage regardless of location and industry. Usually the team with the best players wins. Of course, one needs a reasonable game plan and a good coach.

This brings me to the coach. Oftentimes managers believe it is someone else’s job to coach their talent. Providing insight, strategy, and real-time feedback does not always rank high on a managers list. They all know the importance of coaching their folks but do not really look at it as part of their job. Somehow managing people does not really mean coaching your people.

If there is one thing we have learned it is this: Every generation wants and would benefit from real-time feedback. The business reality, however, is that feedback has become sporadic (at best) and nonexistent (at worst).

Many organizations rely on the annual appraisal as the sole tool for providing feedback. When we think about a coach, who would wait an entire year to provide feedback for one of their players? An athletic coach would not win many games that way.

We also ask rooms full of managers to define feedback. We often hear “constructive criticism” as the definition. Feedback is both positive and developmental. Since most of us did not receive much positive feedback along the way, we tend to think feedback is simply finding the negatives and constructive criticism.

I have started to ask leaders if they view themselves as a surgeon or a coroner? Are they proactively handling issues and surgically and strategically repairing/creating opportunities or are they simply conducting autopsies?

Surgeons make things better. Coroners simply find out what went wrong. Surgeons are proactive. Coroners are reactive. By definition, someone has to be dead to be autopsied.

As a leader, are you a surgeon or a coroner? Coroners only provide constructive criticism. Surgeons provide real-time feedback and developmental input.

Great leaders are surgeons. Weak managers are coroners.