A recent study by Leadership IQ found that 66% of employees feel they have too little interaction with their boss. A whopping 78% of employees surveyed did not have a clear idea of whether their boss feels their job performance is where it should be. That's right -- a majority of employees want to be managed more, not less.
The feedback employees do get is often lacking. Employees want to hear more than just 'good work' or 'you need to do better'. When receiving positive feedback, 53% reported it wasn't specific enough to help them repeat the good performance. Sixty-five percent of employees receiving criticism felt their bosses didn't provide enough direct feedback to help them improve.
Managers are often too busy, afraid to give direct feedback, or are worried about being viewed as a micromanager by their employees. Unfortunately, this study indicates the hands-off approach can lead to real performance problems.
What can be done?
The first step is coming to terms with reality. In my own travels I hear too many leaders dismissing the art of feedback as 'too elementry' or 'common sense' and not something that deserves attention, but reality clearly doesn't match this perception. You can never get better at something if you don't think you need to.
The next step is learning how to give specific, actionable feedback. Many leaders struggle because they never receive formal training in this area, but there are plenty of resources available, including our High Performance Management workshop.
The final step is developing the habit of giving frequent constructive feedback. As the numbers in this study show, Corporate America has a long way to go.