How to Lead Conversations that end with Vitality
You beat yourself up. So do the people around you. Don’t climb in a hole and pull dirt in on yourself.
Maybe it’s time to throw dirt out of the hole!
While working with a new internal coach, we discussed her fear of failure and the sting of receiving negative feedback. Most of us can relate.
As a training exercise, I asked her to coach me on how to deal with the sting of receiving negative feedback.
Her first course of questions sucked me into a hole. Her questions focused on feedback from others. But I can’t control others.
She asked about the criteria of the feedback. Sometimes her questions began, “Do you think?”
I felt the darkness closing in.
She said that she felt the conversation going down a rabbit hole but didn’t know how to get out.
I asked her to start again and focus on the sting.
I suggested that she use open questions. Avoid questions that begin with, “Don’t you think.” At this point the conversation radically changed.
She was brilliant.
She asked, “What makes negative feedback sting?”
I said, “I see myself as a person at the top of heap.”
We discussed the desire to excel. (Being at the top of the heap is different from the desire to excel.)
She asked, “What’s important about being at the top of the heap?” This question provided opportunity for self-reflection.
I said, “I want to feel respected.”
We briefly discussed status and respect.
The question that moved the conversation forward popped into my head.
How might you earn respect when receiving negative feedback?
Vitality returns when values drive behavior. Don’t throw dirt in the hole. Turn conversations toward values.
How might leaders overcome the magnetism of the negative?
How might leaders turn conversations toward values?
Thanks for helping to shape the language I use and reminding me how important it is to use questions.
The time to stay in the conversation is when it’s THERE. In your face. The time to try to re-vitalize – and re-store – workers and co-leaders faith and trust in you is when you’d prefer to run and hide. Embrace the opportunity to communicate on mutually open terms.
Receiving negative feedback does sting sometimes. Ouch! When we invite the opportunity for feedback, we should do so with the expectation that not everyone will love what we do. That’s how we learn and improve. If we only desire or expect postive feedback, we are not preparing properly. It’s so important to have the proper mindset with respect to the receipt of feedback, and how to effectively deal with it. Yes, negative feedback might sting initially – but it should not be considered a wound that really hurts and requires serious medical (mental) attention. Thanks, Dan.
How might leaders overcome the magnetism of the negative? Understanding there is a positive side and move away from the neagative!
How might leaders turn conversations toward values? share your values and seek common ground with others, fall back on your life’s journey and see which values have made you into the people we are. Guidance from parents, Teachers, Religious leaders, siblings, friends, helped to build your values.
Thanks for a great early morning reminder on this. Just what I needed. your blog continues to inspire.
Hi Dan – I love how you have show cased open questions – I agree they can be magical, unlocking ideas that are just there to be explored. Managers can overcome the negative of feedback by thinking of it as a gift, one that is created from a perspective of another. Receive the feedback and then explore it, becoming curious to better understand th perspective by being present, focused, open and asking open questions. Once this negative perspective is understood, ask about what they would like to see you do instead which can create a shared positive perspective moving forward that helps the individual learn and move in direction that will create a more effective outcome.
I want negative feedback right now. Or really any feed back! I started a new role at my company and I want to know how I am doing! My boss gives me really good feedback but he knows exactly what I am working on and my goals I have accomplished. I want to know what others in the organization think. I want to be a fly on the wall after I leave a room of people. BECAUSE I am filling my head with negative thoughts right now and cannot seem to stop. OR maybe no one is saying anything because nobody cares! When talking to people I try to ask a few questions here and there to get it out of them, but no one is very forthcoming.