“Feedback is important.” On Tuesday 9/8/15, Joel Dreessen, NFL tight end for the Houston Texans and Denver Broncos, opened a local sports radio show discussing the importance of feedback.
Dreessen shared his own experience of being cut after training camp with the Jets. Dreessen reflected on his memory of sitting in an ice bath after a long day of practice near the end of the pre-season, feeling good about how he was playing and the kudos he’d received from the coaches. Upon opening his locker, he found a message on his phone from a New York phone number. In the message he was asked to bring his playbook to the coaching offices. His heart sank.
In the meeting he was told all the things he did wrong. Dreessen reflected on his frustration at the time, engaging many on the coaching staff, including the head coach, in a round of questions. Dreessen’s final question was, “Why didn’t you tell me this sooner? I could have done something about it.”
How often do we as leaders make that mistake? How often do people stare at us like deer in headlights when we give them a performance corrective action or worse yet a termination? No matter what the profession, the role, or the skill level of the individual, EVERYONE needs feedback. In my opinion, it is one of the most important roles of a leader. It takes practice and you are going to mess it up, but keep working on it because it is absolutely critical to the success of the individual and the team.
In his story, Dreessen shared his great appreciation for the offensive coordinator of Houston in his first year there. He said it was hard to take some times, but he could always count on the coach to ensure that everyone knew exactly where they stood. Strive to be that leader.