October 20, 2022 7:30:00 AM EDT  |  Leadership and Leadership Development

LDP Blog - Constructive Feedback and Meeting Best Practices

LDP Session #5 for 2022 has been completed and we are almost at our halfway point for the year! We’re really getting into the nitty gritty of Leading Teams. Our August session was kicked-off by Steve Genn who addressed a well-known problem in the industry, constructive feedback. I might spend too much time here highlighting this topic, but I feel it’s that important.

Steve started off by doing a real-time demonstration with Leigh Valudes. While Leigh was in the hot seat getting his feedback, there were two questions Steve asked that really drove Leigh to committing to improvement:

  1. Is there anything I’m doing that’s getting in the way?
  2. Can I count on you to get it done?

Feedback is information about past behavior delivered in the present which may influence future behavior. The feedback should be given real-time, and the goal is to influence future behavior. So why don’t we like giving it? There are many reasons but to simplify, it’s stressful. This isn’t just an industry problem. Here at Markon it’s reported that most feedback submitted in our feedback portal are accolades. Not enough constructive feedback is being given. But one important thing we learned in our session is that feedback is LOVE. If you don’t care about someone, you wouldn’t give them feedback. In Chris McGoff’s, The Primes, he mentions “high performance groups see the giving of feedback as an outward expression of caring for someone.” Bottom line - we are not being leaders if we’re not giving constructive feedback.

As with many leadership topics, it’s easy to use sports as an example. When you think of constructive feedback there’s always that iconic “coach in a players face” image that comes to mind. In sports, this is normal. These athletes want the feedback. They sign up for it and are paid to win. This normalcy of feedback should be the same in the workplace. We can’t help our employees grow and do their best work if we’re not giving them constructive feedback.

In typical LDP fashion, we broke out into groups to do some practice scenarios. As my tablemate could tell you, I froze in one of these scenarios. Real or not, there are some really tough situations where it’s hard to give constructive feedback. In my practice scenario, I was telling an employee they do not meet performance standards to submit for a promotion. On Steve’s slide decks he was presenting there was a quote that resonated well with me after this practice scenario. “Get comfortable being uncomfortable.”

After a break, we got back together, and Leigh Valudes dove into meeting best practices. Some key takeaways were:

  • Before you meet, have a purpose. Standing meetings with vague purposes such as, “status updates” are rarely a good use of time.
  • Develop a meeting agenda. Don’t dominate this agenda, delegate sections of the meeting to the team to help with growth.
  • Consider who is invited. When people feel that what’s being discussed isn’t relevant to them, or they lack the skills or expertise to be of assistance, they’ll view their attendance at the meeting as a waste of time.
  • Establish Ground Rules i.e., start on time, end on time.

Not surprising in 2022, we also dove into some virtual best practices. Remote connectivity is here to stay! Inc Magazine found that two thirds of companies intend to somewhat or greatly increase employee’s ability to work from home.

Again, in typical LDP fashion, we had a moment to do a hands-on assignment. Leigh passed out a template and asked us to think of a meeting we attend and develop an agenda for it. We each came up with different topics and noted the time allotted, purpose, and leader.

One of the most interesting components of LDP to me is the executive interviews. In our August session, Steve and the class interviewed David Baldini, CEO of integrateIT (recently acquired by Markon Solutions). We were able to hear about early influences in his life and how he grew into a successful leader. David has quite an impressive professional background but what stuck with me most was actually a story from his childhood. David started working when he was 12 years old as a paperboy and bought out 2 other kid’s paper routes to have as his own. If you take anything away from this blog, it should be that we should invest in leaders early on in their career as there are some 12-year old’s already thinking about how to buy out their competitors. Another reason why I’m thankful for Markon’s Leadership Development Program- investing in future leaders.

At the end of the day, our work wasn’t done. We have homework and I encourage you all to do this assignment with us.

  1. Provide constructive feedback to someone on your team.
  2. Consider changing a meeting you attend to follow an agenda and/or offer to improve a meeting.

If all this sounds interesting to you, I have good news. LDP is also available externally. Check out the information below on how to get yourself or others on your team enrolled in LDPx.

LDPx™ Training | Anser Advisory

About the Author

Jessica Haddad

Jessica Haddad

Jessica joined Markon's Talent Acquisition (TA) team back in June 2018. She currently leads recruiting for the Federal Division as well as TA operations across the broader organization. With 10 years of experience in TA for federal contractors, she is particularly passionate about training, process improvement, and data analysis. Outside of TA she has dedicated time to support the Quality Committee, Ambassador Program, Policy Committee, and other corporate initiatives. She enjoys expanding her skills and knowledge through programs like LDP and has obtained her SHRM-SCP, PHR, and CQA certifications.