Leadership Tip: Find Opportunities for Feedback

tip tuesday

Tip Tuesday 

Feedback is a gift.

What a cliche! What’s so great about feedback?  How on earth is someone telling you what you did wrong and how you can improve a gift?  

Well, the reality is, it is exactly that!  Today’s tip is: Receiving feedback is the best way to learn about what you are doing well and in what ways you can improve.  

Think about it…you’ve been receiving feedback all of your life.  As a child, you would hear the resounding cheers of the family as you took your first steps.  That was feedback that you were doing something right.  Likewise, when you snatched a toy out of a playmate’s hand, you heard “Not nice. Don’t do that!”  In school, teachers gave you feedback in the form of comments on graded papers or tests.  See!!  Feedback on your behavior has been occurring before you recognized it as such.  

As leaders, you are often expected to provide feedback.  This may be difficult for some leaders to do.  In a future post, I will cover the tenants of providing useful feedback to your direct reports.  But guess what? It is equally as important to receive feedback because as perfect as you may be, you can still use some reinforcement and/or adjustments in how you are behaving like a leader.  So, ask for this gift!  Don’t be shy.  As a leader, we are often not comfortable being in a vulnerable posture.  But it is critically important that you role model this behavior so that your team sees you experience what they likely go through.  This also builds an incredible sense of trust with you and your team.  

How to Ask Your Employees  for Feedback

So, where can you find opportunities to receive feedback?  Give your employees the opportunity to share their thoughts with you.  Use this simple technique.  Ask them to share what they “like” about your behavior and what they “wish” for your behavior.  By using this approach, folks will feel more comfortable offering feedback because there is less of a negative connotation.  

You can also try this after a staff meeting.  One way to gather this feedback is to send around a short email asking them how well components of the meeting went on a scale of 1 to 5.  Then, ask them how you could improve the next meeting.  BAM!!  It’s that simple.  Now you have feedback you can leverage to make your meetings even more engaging for your team.  Beyond your team, you can ask peers or those senior to you to offer insight on ways you can improve in a particular area.  Particularly after working on a project with someone, or presenting work to others, asking for feedback can help you learn your strengths and opportunities through another lens. So, the environment is chock full of opportunities or gifts of feedback.  It’s up to you to seek it out and then action the learnings from the feedback.  When you do that, feedback becomes the gift that keeps on giving. 

Try it out and share this post with a colleague who may find this perspective useful!

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  1. Beth Choisez says:

    If you have trust, feedback is so helpful to your development. You will ask for it even more because who doesn’t like a gift!