It is difficult to become a better leader when you don’t know precisely what changes to make. But some people are so afraid of constructive feedback they don’t ask for it. Or, their negative response to feedback may cause others to stop offering it. Or, they might not know what to do with it. Presentation coach Pam Chambers offers tips for building a better relationship with feedback.
1. Firmly grasp the concept that, without feedback, it’s almost impossible to improve. We all need coaching if we want to excel. Sure, we want our feedback to be delivered supportively and clearly, but if we react badly, we might not get enough of the right kind.
2. Let “thank you” be the first words out of your mouth. If you have a knee-jerk reaction to feedback that includes explaining, justifying, blaming or crying, the feedback won’t sink in.
3. Examine the feedback. Mull it over and look at it from all angles. You will then make a decision to keep it, throw it away or question it. But do something with it.
4. Make a plan. If the feedback was that you don’t contribute enough at meetings, make a decision to do these three things at each meeting: Ask a question, make a suggestion and offer an opinion. You don’t have to be an expert to do these things, and you will dramatically alter how people perceive you.
5. Ask for more feedback. A week or two after you receive a piece of feedback, ask for more. “How am I doing? Does it seem that I’m making a bigger contribution now?” Be brave about getting more feedback. Most people truly do want to know how they’re doing and that someone cares about their success.
Pam Chambers Consulting