What Feedback Forms Taught Me About Leadership

Feedback forms.

Brag sheets.

Smile Sheets.


Here’s the real deal: feedback forms aren’t a great measure of performance.

Here’s why:

I’ve watched corporate trainers ask for these time and time again. Some do it at the end of a workshop, so do it electronically with QR codes, some survey monkey people to death. The problem with this strategy is:P

They’re all after the fact!

The best and most effective way to gauge influence with an individual, a class, an audience or a leader is to ask in the stickiness! Ask when things are tough; when conversations are on the edge; when emotions are high; when everything is on the line. Now, the problem here is (I can hear you saying this now):

How do I best ask for feedback?

Here’s my 4-Step Sure-fire Feedback Philosophy:

  1. Ask Open-Ended Questions. Throw those boring “yes or no” questions out! Now! Start to inquire things like: What would get us from a 6 to an 8 in communication?, How would you rate my leadership style as it relates to providing feedback?, Tell me one thing I can personally improve with my accountability.
  2. Ask in the Sticky Point(s). One of the reasons I’m so requested to facilitate webinars is because of how interactive I am. It’s not something I was born with, let me be honest. I’ve learned a few tricks over the years, like: poll participants periodically, learn 3-5 people’s names and call on them randomly, encourage disagreements (I call them content arguments), and challenge myths. Believe me, this turns the most difficult subjects into the ones people email me and ask for more.
  3. Give Immediate Action Items. Those 2-week action plans don’t work! People have short-term memory. Provide them with four (4) items they can go do TODAY! They’ll most likely do two . . . and love you for the impact those two make.
  4. Follow back up. Set a reminder to follow back up four days, then again in nine days from the conversation, webinar, workshop or seminar. This is the key. Use technology and record a video to send if you can’t do it in person. Challenge people to implement what they’ve learned and share the results.

When you have a consistent plan of engagement with follow-up, trust and communication are improved in any organization. And believe it or not, this has been one of the hottest topics I’ve spoke on around the country this year. Sound like something you might be interested in? Check outmy Thumbtack profile to learn how to bring me to your conference room today!

Now, of course, I’m not the only one dealing with this, so chime in on the comments below and let me know what you think. Add your thoughts, and I’ll chime back.

Talk soon.