On Leadership, Feedback, and Effective Solutions


Leaders are responsible for creating a work atmosphere where employees can offer and acquire feedback that guides and directs their performance.

“Quality feedback is meant to enhance decisions in the face of change.

This feedback is meant to maximize company-wide acceptance when adaptations are required, and is also designed to supply recommendations that increase performance and reduce inefficiencies in work units and throughout the organization.

Quality feedback is essential for analyzing problems, considering possible solutions, and reaching an agreement on the most promising ideas.Employees’ cooperative efforts in this process are translated into recommendations for upper management to consider.

Implementing Ideas

Recommendations include an implementation process of ideas, concepts and methods that work to enhance stability and participation in the workplace. The leader’s active involvement ensures recommendations will be accepted by management and then successfully implemented.

Without addressing an effective way to develop employee interactive feedback, all efforts to change systems, methods, procedures and processes will be thwarted.

In fact, nothing will transpire to move units or the organization ahead. When this happens, employee commitment and participation greatly decreases.

“Consequently, the leader becomes less effective.

This loss of effectiveness could result in damage of the transformational process and their employees’ trust.

Effective leaders know that one of the best ways to foster interactive employee feedback is by developing “quality circles.” This section discusses the details of a quality circle to help leaders understand why it works so effectively.

“Implementation is fairly easy, and it has the power to move a unit and organization ahead faster than many other methods.

The Quality Circle

Quality circles are small groups of employees who do similar work, meet regularly to gain insight, discuss feedback and analyze problems in their work units. Quality circles follow specific guidelines that act as boundaries:

  • They meet consistently at scheduled times.
  • Participation is voluntary.
  • A group consists of six to eight employees.
  • Problems are identified through discussion and active feedback, with analysis provided by each member. A solution is reached with full group acceptance.
  • Recommendations are presented to upper management for approval and action.

The Criteria for a Quality Circle

To ensure top-quality feedback and interaction in the circle, specific steps are required.

The first meeting is meant to identify one problem that exists within the unit that needs to be modified, improved or eliminated. Once a problem is identified and prioritized, the participants gather as much applicable data and information as possible for discussion at the second session.

Throughout the second meeting, feedback is shared among all participants to analyze the links between the data gathered and the problem at hand. Circle participants weed through the collected data to sort out only factual, usable information.

The appropriate data combined with interactive feedback allows the group to define corrective measures that can solve the problem. When a final solution is agreed to, another meeting is scheduled to move the process forward.

This session develops a plan for implementing the solution determined at the previous meeting. Here, participants formalize a written recommendation to the leader, who then presents it to upper management to be reviewed and approved.

The Key to a Successful Quality Circle

To develop a successful quality circle, leaders must make certain that participants adhere to specific guidelines throughout the interactive feedback process.

If these key points are minimized, ignored or overlooked, the whole process can collapse.

To prevent this from happening leaders must:

  • Create a positive atmosphere where employees are free to interact according to preestablished rules of conduct and without a leader’s negative interference.
  • Make certain that everyone knows the basic philosophy of the quality circle process before beginning.
  • Reinforce the positive aspects of the process. For best effect, leaders should publicize the achievements of the circle in the workplace.
  • Participate actively on the steering committee for participant selection. Leaders need to become the active link between the circle and top management.

Become an Enthusiastic Facilitator

The quality circle process depends upon a leader’s willingness to be an enthusiastic facilitator. This is not always an easy job. Since there are continuous ups and downs in the process, leaders need to focus their efforts in the following ways:

  • Maintain enthusiasm for the process and its members.
  • Be as helpful as possible, and always sustain visibility during the meetings and discussions.
  • Listen closely to all participants while demonstrating concern and care.
  • Give credit where it is due while actively supporting the participants’ efforts and ideas.

Move Slowly into the Process

If the quality circle process is new to leaders and employees, it is wise to start the process slowly. To enhance the current project and to ensure the proper development of others, leaders should do the following:

  • Select only one project circle to begin with.
  • The first project can be a pilot to identify problems and issues that surface. Use it as an experiment, and learn from mistakes and ineffective procedures.
  • Select the right area and atmosphere for the formation of the circle.
  • Always keep participation voluntary.
  • Remain open and positive about the circle’s activities and progress. Stay flexible. If progress is slower than expected, be patient and allow for additional meetings.

Allow for Thorough Evaluation and Complete Feedback

With a leader’s supervision and elements of mutual trust and cooperation, the quality circle should run quite smoothly. In any case, it is essential that the leader systematically tabulate the progress of the program, especially when more than one circle is operating simultaneously.

This evaluation should note the projects completed and the number of recommendations presented to upper management for approval.

It is also important to document the circle’s ability to save money, effort and time and to reduce waste and inefficiencies. These results need to continually be shared with all employees and upper management.


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Learn, Grow & Develop Other Leaders™

Timothy F. Bednarz is Publisher at Majorium Business Press
He provides Learning & Development to generate positive results and outcomes
Email | LinkedIn | Twitter |  Web | Solutions  

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Leaders: The Challenge of Overcoming Failure

Failing Forward

It is unrealistic to expect that all forms of leadership are successful—because they are not. The nature of leadership is such that leaders are going to take risks and fail.

“An effective leader learns from failure and moves forward.

However, there are failures in leadership not associated with risk taking that can undermine and paralyze an organization.

Understanding Failure

With any leadership failure, one must strive to distill the reasons and causes behind it.

Such failures prevent leaders and their organizations from moving forward because the subsequent barriers and voids stifle a company’s ability to seek new opportunities.

Consequently, the company will not be able to take advantage of situations that increase its competitiveness, productivity and market strength.

Everyone in the organization feels the effects of failure. Often these failures can be attributed to leaders who either are improperly trained or misapply leadership principles.

“They often fail by backsliding into old habits.

It is important for leaders to understand that their knowledge, expertise and leadership skills will be continually challenged in a volatile and complex work environment.

Overwhelmed by time and work requirements, they can easily create a situation that causes leadership failure and leaves a void for their employees.

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Causes of Failure

Leadership failure is generally the result of succumbing to the three shortcomings that are discussed in this section. Highly effective leaders learn to analyze the factors behind these shortcomings that hinder their ability to lead consistently, creatively, and responsibly.

Barriers, unforeseen situations, and negative influences are guaranteed to surface at one time or another to test one’s ability to lead effectively.

These moments of adversity can disclose areas of ineffectiveness or challenge successes that have been achieved. Leaders need to take preventative action to make sure they do not succumb to these shortcomings.

Self-Imposed Barriers

Many leaders unintentionally create personal barriers that erode their ability to maintain leadership principles, methods, and motivation. Leaders who discover themselves doing any of the following should take immediate action to stop.

  • Backseat leadership” is exhibited through indecisiveness, fence-sitting and avoiding responsibility.
  • Professional and personal goals are not formalized or articulated.
  • Leaders lack a positive approach to serious issues, or fail to present suggested solutions for a defined problem.
  • They don’t understand their own strengths and weaknesses, refuse to ask others for their input, and lack a personal improvement plan.
  • Different ethical standards are applied to their personal and professional lives.
  • They don’t share ideas, time, encouragement, respect, compliments and feedback with others.
  • Employees’ weaknesses are focused on and criticized when, instead, the leader should build on and reinforce the individual’s strengths and abilities.
  • They fail to work on personal development, or don’t take it seriously enough to make a difference.

Insufficient Understanding of Leadership

Leadership is always responsible

It is not simply a position, job title or a manager overseeing employees. It is both a science and an art that is constantly operating. It requires motivating, monitoring, talking and training through active hands-on involvement. It removes barriers to effectiveness. In sum, leadership is responsible for everything the organization does or fails to do.

Leadership means understanding that the factual basis of the organization continues to change

In other words, the thinking that made an organization’s success possible yesterday is the same thinking that can result in its failure tomorrow.

Technology will never be able to replace leadership

The question leaders answer is, “What is the organization going to depend on when technology undermines it?” It is dangerous to believe computers and technicians can replace leaders.

Leadership is about looking below the surface

Since the greatest dangers and the biggest opportunities live there, hidden unless searched out. Leadership also means seeing employees as an untapped resource that can collectively identify some of the best ideas and solutions to an organization’s problems. Leaders in this role look to workers for ideas, identification of problems and possible solutions.

Leadership requires looking beyond the horizon

It means acknowledging that success can blind an organization. Leadership skills encourage leaders to watch for changing trends, needs, potential devastating occurrences, and possible problems that can hinder an organization’s progress.

Inflexible Goals

Goal setting is a powerful tool—but only a tool; leaders should not make more of it than what it is.

“Leaders are masters of their goals: their goals serve them.

Leaders often fail when goals are not adjusted to reflect their current knowledge about what is best for themselves or the organization.

Setting specific goals builds commitment to achieving results.

However, maintaining an inflexible commitment to a goal is dangerous. The time invested or the costs associated with a specific goal can impair the leader’s ability to objectively assess the value of one goal over another.

Overcoming Forward

As goals are pursued, leaders also need to continually seek new opportunities. They can accomplish both simultaneously by doing the following:

  • Think strategically each and every day.
  • Actively seek out daily opportunities.
  • Realize a leader’s job is to find new opportunities and quickly take advantage of them.
  • Have employees think in terms of, “What if…?” or, “How could…?” or, “Why couldn’t we…?” and other mind-expanding questions.
  • Talk with others outside the organization to discover their views on future directions.
  • Seek information from people who have a different perspective. Leaders often gravitate toward people who are similar to them, who don’t challenge them sufficiently to make a difference.
  • Remember that goal setting does reign supreme when achieving organizational success. However, to prevent leadership failure, never let goals obstruct the identification of new opportunities that may be more valuable.

So what are you doing to set the proper mindset to deal with failure. What questions run through your mind that are moving you toward a more healthy and positive outlook when it comes to failure? How can you work to create an environment that allows teams to fail forward? I would love to hear your thoughts!


Never miss an issue of Linked 2 Leadership, subscribe today
Learn, Grow & Develop Other Leaders™

Timothy F. Bednarz is Publisher at Majorium Business Press
He provides Learning & Development to generate positive results and outcomes
Email | LinkedIn | Twitter |  Web | Solutions  

Image Sources: img.ibtimes.com

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