Stepping Toward Excellence

Finding excellence requires passion, persistence, principles, clarity, direction, and more. Excellence isn’t easy. Congratulations if you joined the pursuit. But there’s a key ingredient you’re likely missing that smooths the path and greases the wheels.

The pursuit of excellence requires feedback that describes, affirms, and improves useful behaviors or exposes ineffective ones. However, feedback from employees suggests they seldom receive sufficient feedback.

If you aren’t giving enough feedback,
you aren’t getting enough, either.

Research shows that of all behaviors leaders fail worst at asking for feedback. (From: The Leadership Challenge)

The pursuit of excellence demands leaders invite feedback.

Two questions:

How can you ask for feedback and not feel subservient to others? Serving is strength; subservience is weakness. Inviting feedback suggests passion to improve skills and enhance progress. Receiving feedback indicates strength.

How can you ask for feedback without others feeling superior to you? (Question from a workshop participant)

  1. Ask for and give feedback. One directional feedback encourages superior to inferior dynamics.
  2. Focus on one person. Ask for feedback but don’t give feedback during the same conversation. (Option one)
  3. Engage in feedback conversations. (Option two) “Let’s talk about how we’re doing.” But avoid any hint that you’ve asked for feedback as an excuse to give it.
  4. Lifting the ego of others may not be all bad. People need to feel important, useful, even powerful.
  5. When their ego puts you down, they need feedback on giving feedback.

Five feedback power tips:

  1. “How am I doing?” invites feedback about you.
  2. “How is my hands-off approaching working with you?” invites feedback about behaviors.
  3. Explain your goals while asking for feedback. “What behaviors have you seen me engage in that lift employee morale?”
  4. Explore specific behavioral improvements. The emphasis is on explore.
  5. Confirm and affirm effective behaviors.

What feedback techniques work best for you?

What feedback disasters have you seen?