StarQuest Group



Don’t forget your top performers. They need feedback too!

I recently had coffee with a senior leader from a large organization, and he mentioned that he had a new boss and how his new boss was so different from his previous boss, whom he had worked under for more than 10 years. He commented that last month he had received his first performance review in 10 years, and it was quite refreshing.


Given my curious nature, I asked what made it so refreshing, as that is not typically an adjective that I hear when it comes to performance reviews. He responded that the review was overall very good, and that what stuck out was the feedback on his performance that he received during the conversation. His new boss was very specific in what he was doing well, and sited several examples that he had observed over the prior year; and he also identified a couple of areas that, in his opinion, would help this senior leader be more effective. He was again specific on those recommendations, and offered continued support.


My client’s response to his annual review and feedback was what resonated with me. He commented that for 10 years he had gotten used to being left alone and only heard from his previous boss when there was a numbers issue. No feedback, no reviews, and no calls unless something was wrong. He said that he had gotten used to no feedback, and had learned to make up his own feedback! What surprised him was two things: 1) he didn’t realize how much he missed getting specific feedback; and 2) he thought he didn’t need feedback, when in reality he valued feedback far more than he ever thought.


So here’s the takeaway. Never underestimate the positive effects of feedback and how important it is even for your high performers. As leaders, it’s not uncommon to neglect our high performers because we get busy with other issues and rationalize to ourselves that they don’t need feedback and coaching because they’re doing so well.


If you haven’t given feedback to one of your strong performers lately, you know that one who is doing their job and is doing it well…then, reach out now and share some feedback. They just might find your conversation (and feedback) refreshing!


If you have any comments, we’d love to hear from you. Visit our website and post your comments. I will respond to any posted comments! Thanks.

Tom Athenour

Tom has been in the people development business for over 20 years, and has worked with a variety of organizations from start-ups to Fortune 1000 companies. Prior to co-founding StarQuest Group in 1998, he was vice president of marketing for International Learning Systems, Inc., an international performance development consulting firm that worked with Fortune 500 companies worldwide. Before entering the learning and development business, he was in the financial services industry and held leadership positions in marketing, operations and sales. He has worked for companies including Bank of America, California Bancshares, Inc. and Piper Jaffray. Tom currently serves on the board of directors for the Rocky Mountain HR People & Strategy Association (HRPS), and is a member of the Sales Management Association, and the Association for Talent Development. He also is a community leader for YoungLife. He holds an MBA from St. Mary's College of California, and BS in Marketing from the University of Santa Clara.

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