Leaders rarely say, “I’d like your feedback.” It’s even more rare for feedback to be received well.
The most important thing about seeking feedback is the way it’s received.
5 reasons leaders bristle when receiving feedback:
- Blindspots. Feedback often comes from someone who sees something you don’t.
- Self-rejection. You can’t stand the idea that others might see you as human.
- Confidence. Your approach is the “right” approach. No one wakes up thinking, “I want to make wrong decisions today.”
- Perceived knowledge. Young leaders know too much and so do gray hairs. We need more dumb leaders.
- Hurt feelings. Feedback offends good intentions.
It’s challenging to give tough feedback. It takes humility and practice to receive it well.
7 ways to destroy the benefit of feedback:
- Explanation. The next time you bring up a tough issue, listen for, “That’s because….” Reasons to tolerate unacceptable behaviors follow, “That’s because.”
- Diversion. Receiving negative feedback often results in pointing out the faults of others.
- Minimizing. “It’s not that bad.”
- Intimidation. Anger intends to punish people who bring up uncomfortable topics.
- Self-pity. “No one understands the pressure I feel.”
- Authenticity. Indulgent authenticity rejects feedback about shortcomings by saying, “I’m just not good at ….”
- Discounting the source. “They’re being vindictive.”
10 ways to receive feedback like a pro:
Feedback is essential to tapping personal and organizational potential. When receiving feedback:
- Relax. Relax. Relax.
- Keep the end in mind.
- Stay comfortably close and connected.
- Imagine your guard going down when you feel it rising up.
- Lean in and ask a question when you feel like pulling back and making statements.
- Focus on behaviors.
- Ask for examples.
- Explore a path forward.
- Set a follow-up meeting.
- Say, “Thank you.”
What causes leaders to bristle at feedback?
What tips for receiving feedback might you add?