Forget the skills gap: Take a look at the leadership shortage

Leaders in the workplace should praise their workers often and provide feedback

By Brian Thompson,

A workplace without a strong leader to help sales employees develop their career and skills is like a captainless ship. When workers feel as though they are bound for Destination Nowhere, they are more likely to jump ship before the boat crashes into an unknown shore. As workers go about their day, they may not be aware that a lack of leadership in the workplace affects their own personal and professional growth as well. However, for those who do, they may want to leave their employer for another company that has clear plans for their skills development and career path.

The problem of not feeling management's presence on the job is widespread throughout the workforce, TLNT magazine reported, citing a survey by German human resources software firm Success Factors. The study found 42 percent of executives believe without effective leadership, a company's plans for expansion may be slowed considerably. The results show plans could be derailed without leaders in the workplace who know what their role is in coaching, support workers to meet sales forecasts and put employees on the path toward growth.

Survey: Feedback from management lacking in workplace
With the survey focusing on leadership pitfalls, the study highlighted several areas where managers could improve on, including providing workers feedback and praising employees. The survey revealed that while more than half of employees agreed managers are great at delivering on leadership expectations overall, they do a less stellar job with feedback and performance reviews. Forty-nine percent of workers said their managers were good at performance reviews and 43 percent for informal feedback on performance.

Even seasoned managers know that feedback is one of the best ways to unlock employee potential and steer them toward behaviors or attitudes that are necessary for achieving the company's plans. With managers needing to improve their feedback, they could look into the frequency and quality of their comments.

Here are tips to enhance performance feedback:

  • Offer specific points on work. Rather than giving employees vague comments on their quarterly performance, mention examples of their accomplishments and offer praise when they deserve it. Did they achieve the biggest sale of the quarter or help retain some of the industry's toughest customers?
  • Back up comments with data. When managers struggle to offer their workers feedback, it could be because they do not interact with them enough or hesitate to deliver bad news. Supporting your feedback with hard statistics on performance could provide an objective view into their work. Employing sales performance management software solutions to measure employee productivity levels and sales could help managers solve that crucial issue of lack of feedback.

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Brian Thompson