Leaders no matter the size of the team they lead have undoubtably being asked, (sometimes on the spot!) to provide articulate, considered feedback that if a Leader commands the respect of his team, knows will greatly impact on the team or individual’s morale or progress.
A common pitfall many Leaders subsequently fall into, is believing that more information is best; at a time when in fact the Leader must make what is difficult to see, become crystal clear.
An arena where feedback is vital to game day performance, can be found out on the golf greens. Although a fairly unique relationship in the sporting world, one where the player is issued a supporter for the entirety of the game, many parallels can be drawn out and applied in business. None more so than in how a Caddie provides feedback.
One study commissioned by multinational bank HSBC, prior to the 2014 British Open showed that a highly skilled Caddie can increase a Player’s performance by as much as 30 percent. Another study carried out by the University of Lincoln found that a Caddies primary role, is to keep their player “in the flow state” or “the zone” by helping to select targets, maintain concentration, minimise distractions and provide timely encouragement through the mechanism of ongoing strategic feedback.
By minimising distractions and providing pointed timely feedback, the player is free to draw on what’s already present, what’s been deposited during training sessions, years of the player’s life and professional experience in order to achieve the ultimate goal.
As I am sure it has been said before, you can’t teach experience, but experiences teach. The primary objective for a leader or manager when providing feedback, is to then rather limit information and ask questions. Providing accurate feedback that assist in drawing out those experiences, reinforcing positive mindsets and challenging unproductive or harmful ones along the way.