Last week I invited a trusted friend to give me some constructive criticism. I asked him to answer this question.
“Can you tell me three things that I do that hold me back?”
He asked me to limit the context so I chose work rather than personal life. Among other things, he criticized me for being too critical. He gave me two examples. One was an example illustrating what I do wrong and the other was how I had done it correctly. He didn’t tell me anything new but somehow reading what he wrote helped me see myself better.
The people close to you know you better than you think. You’ll reach higher if you invite and listen to their feedback.
Here are 10 suggestions for inviting criticism.
- Invite criticism from a trusted friend who knows your personal or professional goals.
- Don’t overwhelm yourself or your friend. Ask one specific question.
What three things do I do that hinder others?
List two of my behaviors that frustrate others?
Tell me three things I do that hold me back?
- Don’t punish their honesty. Thank them.
- Avoid defensiveness. (pay attention to the next one)
- Inviting a friend to criticize you is not the same as being coached so don’t keep bringing it up. That’s awkward.
- Practice their suggestions.
- Don’t ask one of your critics to criticize you. They are too eager!
- I chose to ask for criticism via email because it doesn’t demand an immediate response.
- Be sensitive to your friend. They may not enjoy this exercise.
- It may help to narrow the context to running meetings, communication style, problem solving, etc.
Leaders reach higher when a trusted
friend brings them lower.
What suggestions do you have for inviting criticism? What dangers? Have you had success doing this?
“Don’t ask one of your critics to criticize you. They are too eager!”
Great suggestion. In addition, you will be less likley to accept their feedback if you perceive an agenda. A good friend or co-worker is a great source of feedback.
I hadn’t thought about the agenda problem. You are nailing it.
Thanks for jumping in,
Great response Bob, I had this problem when I asked someone who I “thought” was a friend.
Great suggestions. I agree it would be easier on the receiving end of that request to have the opportunity to respond via email, and also to have some guidelines. The process may be difficult for some, and I would encourage this exercise only for those who are truly ready to hear the feedback. Otherwise, it could damage the friendship. I love feedback (but only when it’s positive!)…
Yes indeed, don’t ask if you don’t want to hear! Chances are the more it stings the more we need it. And I agree, it isn’t worth loosing a friend over.
Thanks for your comments.
Good stuff Dan . . . I’m in a season where I need this more than I care to admit. I always like face to face conversation better, but I can see how this would allow someone to say exactly what they need to and not be rushed.
Thanks for the comment on my blog. You’re doing a great job! Thanks for mentoring me here.
Blessings on your week!
You are a very gracious man. It’s an honor to have you stop by. I appreciate your input here.
You have my regards,
Coming on your website for the Average Joe, I decided to look at the other posts and was intrigued by this one! I think your suggestions are very sound and I really like the questions you suggest a friend should pose for you?
Your thinking sparked a parallel set of thinking for me, as I am currently working with a client whose staff love, admire and respect her but have frustrations with her because of some occasionally random behaviours. They seem uncertain how to tackle this and I was wondering why they were unable to provide feedback. I think I now have some clues from your suggested questions so thanks for that!
I was also intrigued by the point in one of the replies that differentiated between positive and negative feedback! I have always followed the view that feedback is feedback – it is how you receive it and deal with it that makes it helpful or valuable? What do you believe?