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How to Give Feedback as a CEO

See how you can give feedback as a CEO that drives performance and success at your company in seven easy steps.

By Brier Cook  •   May 8, 2023  •   7 min read

Chief executive officers (CEOs) today are faced with the challenging task of making major corporate decisions while also nurturing a company culture that keeps employees productive. What if we told you that one of the best ways to support the success of your business is to build a feedback culture that promotes open communication, collaboration, and great work habits?

Read on to learn how often you should give feedback, explore seven ways CEOs and other leaders can give meaningful feedback to employees, and see how you can use Fellow to give great ongoing feedback to colleagues.

How often should you give feedback?

According to research by Zippia, 65% of employees desire more feedback from their managers and peers. Who can blame them? Regular feedback can help employees break bad habits, reinforces positive behaviors, and work more productively towards their goals. 

Though it may be tempting to avoid giving your employees feedback aside from during annual performance reviews, leaders should aim to give positive and constructive feedback on an ongoing basis. Informal feedback can and should be given during each one-on-one meeting, and as often as each day. 

Level-up your CEO feedback process

Maximize your team’s potential by streamlining real-time feedback on meetings, projects, and performance with Fellow. Start building a stronger, more productive team culture today!

The benefits of giving feedback 

1Encourages professional growth

Giving feedback is one of the best ways to promote professional growth among your colleagues. Professional growth is important as it will help your colleagues learn new abilities, earn certifications, gain more experience in specific areas, and move forward in their careers. As CEO, you should give regular feedback that encourages your employees to take action. For example, if your sales team had a below-average quarter that you believe is attributed to a specific hard skill, you can provide the team with constructive feedback while also giving them the resources and encouragement to improve moving forward. 

2Increases productivity

Giving constructive and positive feedback can increase productivity within your company. This is because letting your staff know where and how they can improve will help them move past challenges that hold them back. On the other hand, positive feedback will boost morale and confidence as well as show employees that you value their hard work. 

3Improves employee engagement

As a leader, it must be a top priority to improve employee engagement, as having an enthusiastic workforce will reduce turnover and positively impact your business’s profits and culture. Engaged employees care about their work and feel invested in the success of the company. Giving regular feedback will tell employees that you have a vested interest in their success. It will also show teams across the organization that you’re paying attention to the work they’re doing and indicate that want them to thrive.

4Retains employees 

Company perks aren’t enough to keep employees happy. The better feedback you deliver, the more workers will want to stick around your organization. Company leaders can retain their workforce by delivering feedback that makes employees feel valued. Feedback will help your employees feel confident in their performance and committed to maintaining positive habits. 

How to give feedback as a CEO 

1Show appreciation

Employee appreciation comes in many forms. During feedback conversations, show appreciation by recognizing and rewarding individuals for their great work. For example, the next time you recognize that a teammate has gone above and beyond their expected output for a project, say something along the lines of, “I’m impressed with how you have managed to meet every goal you’ve set for yourself recently” or, “Excellent work on that project this week! Your hard work doesn’t go unnoticed by myself and the rest of the team.”

During each one-on-one with a colleague, begin the conversation by affirming what the individual contributes to their team and the overall organization. Then, help employees expand their skill sets and knowledge.

2Ask the person to assess their performance

Self-assessments are a good way to learn how an individual views themself and their skill set. The next time you have a feedback conversation, get the individual to assess how they believe they’ve been doing. Communicate in advance that the assessment is informal and will in no way be used to evaluate their actual performance. You can ask prompting questions to guide your conversation like: What’s something you feel like you’ve done well recently? What’s something you could improve moving forward? What support and resources do you need from the company to grow professionally? 

3Be open and honest

Your relationship with direct reports and other employees within the company should be built on a foundation of mutual respect and trust. The feedback you give should be open and honest—without hurting the individual’s feelings. Each time you deliver positive or constructive feedback, be objective and provide specific examples. Honest feedback should always be direct and well intentioned and should be given at an appropriate time. Determine whether you’re trying to acknowledge someone’s good work or identify behaviors you’d like the person to change before proceeding. Before you deliver any feedback, ask yourself: Am I clear on my intention? 

4Explain how the person can improve

The person to whom you’re delivering feedback should leave the session with clear next steps on how to proceed. Give clear examples of what you expect of individuals moving forward and help them identify key milestones they should work towards during the process. 

For example, if a colleague has been missing regular deadlines you can say something like: “I’ve noticed that you’ve missed some deadlines lately. Is everything alright? Let’s schedule some time this week to chat about your workload and any roadblocks you’re facing, and create a plan to get you back on track!”

5Give targeted feedback

Targeted feedback is a tactic commonly used by educators to enhance student learning. In the business world, leaders can provide actionable feedback to facilitate employee learning and produce tangible results like increased productivity in the workplace. 

Focus on solutions when giving your feedback. For instance, if your teammate is struggling to keep up with their workload and you suspect it’s because they need to improve their time management skills, you can offer several solutions like assigning them an accountability buddy, showing them how to use the time-blocking method, or encouraging them to sign up for an online time management course. Then, ask them to track their progress and report back to you in one week, one month, or one quarter. 

With Fellow, you can give and get feedback as work happens on meetings, projects, and performance. Normalize feedback, ask for feedback, provide feedback, and track feedback seamlessly to build a culture of continuous feedback.

6Create a plan to help the person grow 

Offering a plan will help your employees remain accountable. During feedback sessions, work with individuals to create a plan to achieve the objectives they’ve outlined for themselves. The plan should include a set of goals, strategies, and tactics, as well as a set timeline they can refer back to. 

Did you know that objectives and key results (OKRs) are one of the best goal-setting methodologies employees can use to set ambitious goals that will challenge them to make marginal improvements to their work each day? Using Fellow, you can record, define, and track the progress of OKRs using the Objectives tool. You can even use Fellow to track objectives as part of your meeting workflow and assign action items during one-on-one meetings! 

7Demonstrate the benefits of feedback 

The best way to encourage regular feedback among teammates is by promoting a feedback culture at your company. If you begin delivering constructive or positive feedback unprompted, it may come across as nerve-wracking or inauthentic. Demonstrate the benefits of feedback by asking others to give you constructive criticism as well as maintaining a growth mindset in everything you lead. Let others know that your company is an environment where employees should feel psychologically safe and encouraged to share their thoughts. 

How to give effective feedback as a CEO with Fellow

Leaders including CEOs can use Fellow to deliver effective feedback that drives change within their organization. Fellow enables teams to share real-time feedback on projects and performance so company leaders don’t have to wait until their quarterly reviews to deliver feedback. Use our platform to let your teams and employees know where and how they can improve, and to keep a history of the feedback you exchange. 

“One of the best additions to our feedback loop has been the company-wide adoption of Fellow. It provides an amazing platform for constant conversations and direct feedback between managers and direct reports.”

Justin Schiefner, Director of People and Culture at Arkose Labs.

Parting advice

At Fellow, we believe that great feedback paired with great meetings is the recipe for a successful business. CEOs can nurture their company’s culture in a way that keeps employees efficient when they give consistent feedback!

Don’t know where to start? Try our Google Chrome extension to bring meeting notes and agendas from Fellow directly into Google Meet and Google Calendar.

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