​Have You Earned the Right to Give Feedback?

Some of the most impactful information leaders get in their career is from the candid feedback of colleagues and clients that expect a lot and respect them enough to offer an outside perspective. We can all become the corporate legends we don’t want to be if people don’t care enough to tell us the truth about our impact. Good, bad or otherwise seeking feedback is a good thing – and is a model for those we lead.    

Recently, Fast Company shared a superb article: 5 Steps for Giving Feedback that’s Helpful, not Hurtful. We’re reminded that feedback is a positive and ongoing effort – and that a leader wanting to give feedback should first seek it. 

It’s no accident that the first step to giving feedback is asking for it. Over time, a leader’s consistent example inspires others to do the same, especially if they trust the process is valuable and ‘safe’ vs. only a punitive experience. When leaders ask for feedback, a positive ripple effect can start that grows self-awareness and mutual accountability across teams. With consistency and humility, a leader’s practice of seeking relevant, timely feedback furthers a culture of continuous improvement.

Another way to look at it is – when a leader doesn’t seek regular, specific feedback about what’s working (or not) in how they show up and progress towards goals, they create a double-standard. While they may have the responsibility to give feedback -if only delivered annually, it’s often seen as punitive, comes too late for positive impact, and feels artificial. 

Get a Plan to Seek Feedback

The best leaders I’ve coached or been privileged to work with are intentional about their growth – and feedback is a critical element in it. They first develop trusted networks of truth-tellers and turn to them for regular, candid “outside-in” perspectives. They probe for ways to improve a range of influence drivers – from the impact of specific behaviors to their approach with key relationships, to performance efforts and navigating political dynamics. These leaders report that they gain more gold than grit from these conversations. I’ve seen another benefit – these conversations help the leader stay abreast of complex and important situations. These leaders stay agile – informed – and objective. 

What will you do this year to seek feedback? If you’ve not yet done so, consider scheduling regular check-ins with your truth-tellers (at home and work) and listen to their candid perspectives. Make sure you thank those generous enough to share their time and perspective for the gift their feedback truly is. If you value it – you’ll ask for feedback – and earn the right to share yours.   

Ready for Coaching? Schedule a call

Kim Moore

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