Over the years, I’ve come to appreciate real-time, professional feedback. And as a leader, I’ve learned valuable feedback is critical when it comes to personal and professional development. By utilizing performance feedback, a leader positively influences the health of their organization. Performance feedback builds a climate of trust.

Unfortunately, performance feedback continues to be absent in most workplaces. A recent Gallup article stated that only 20% of employees receive meaningful performance feedback oriented on goal achievement and job performance. 

With the competition for top talent greater than ever before, there is a question we, as leaders, should be asking ourselves: “Can I afford not to give great feedback?”

According to our research at Solutions 21, reviewing performance feedback is the number one skill of World-Class Performers to increase effectiveness. The tools for performance feedback exist (personality profiles, 360-degree feedback, employee surveys, etc.), yet many next-generation leaders are left wondering if their job performance is up to par. 

As a junior executive, I completed my first-ever personality profile and received feedback from “raters” on my 360-degree evaluation. I remember feeling anxious to receive my results and unpack the information. After all, as a focused professional on a high-performance team, I needed to be coached on how to use this performance feedback to modify my behavior and achieve greater effectiveness. Today, junior executive leaders feel the same and need a deliberate, objective review of these tools .  

When I became a director of a highly-competitive organization, I was determined to close any performance feedback loopholes. In my new role, I had to make time to provide effective performance feedback to junior leaders so they could succeed as individuals and the organization could learn, grow, and get better every day. For the feedback to be effective, I had to listen to my employees and understand their challenges in order to help them take advantage of opportunities and navigate challenges. I also had to make myself vulnerable and share my own experiences of failure and success – which really helped my direct reports get to know me and, in turn, build solid relationships. I was able to build trust and pass on organizational intent every time I gave performance feedback. Talk about priceless.  

There are many challenges for leaders at all levels in today’s workforce including limited time, increased operational objectives within optimized organizations, and the challenges of work-life integration. I believe one of the most critical components to achieving organizational success is giving real-time and effective performance feedback. Your employees do, as well.