Bill Gates at TED Education 2013

Some say feedback is helpful in leadership. I disagree. It’s actually crucial.

As a driven leader, my problem is not working hard, it’s working smart. I think I “don’t have time” for something as lame as feedback. Show me results! Don’t give me another meeting. I’m focussed on getting things done here.

But as Bill Gates recently observed about the world’s leading countries in terms of education, 11 of the top 15 countries all cite effective teacher feedback systems as a critical factor in their success. No feedback means no improvement – average leaders remain average, and no-one reaches their potential.

So here’s my take-away: I need more feedback about my work. Being busy doesn’t mean I’m being productive. Times of reflection, although not “producing” anything in the moment, are like sowing seeds. As you keep sowing, as you make a habit of reflection and feedback, your return becomes multiplied. I’ve recently asked two other leaders to act as my communication coaches, giving me regular feedback on my public speaking. It’s helping me significantly.

Do you have a feedback loop for your leadership? How is it helping you?


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