The One Behavior that Most Advances Your Leadership
Seeking feedback is at the top of the biggest leadership failures. (The Leadership Challenge)
Everytime I’m asked about giving feedback, I ask, “What are you doing to seek feedback?” I do this because leaders model the way.
“Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing.” Albert Schweitzer
Excellence and feedback:
Imagine practicing foul shots or field goals but never seeing if they went in. You could practice for weeks but never improve.
Excellence requires passion, persistence, principles, clarity, direction, and more. But lack of feedback always holds you back.
Sadly, feedback from employees suggests they seldom receive sufficient feedback.
If you aren’t giving enough feedback, you aren’t getting enough feedback either.
#1. How can you ask for feedback and not feel subservient to others?
Serving is strength; subservience is weakness.
Seeking feedback indicates strength.
Inviting feedback suggests the strength of passion and resolve to make progress.
#2. How can you ask for feedback without others feeling superior to you? (Questions from a workshop participant.)
- Consider feedback a two-way exchange. One directional feedback encourages superior to inferior dynamics.
- Divide the exchange of feedback into separate conversations. Ask for feedback but don’t give feedback during the same conversation.
- Engage in open ended feedback conversations. “Let’s talk about how I’m doing as a leader.” (But avoid any hint that you’ve asked for feedback as an excuse to give it.)
- Extend honor. Protecting the ego of others opens the heart to receive tough feedback. People need to feel important, useful, even powerful. Exchanging feedback isn’t a pissing contest.
- “How am I doing?” usually results in useless feedback.
- “How is my hands-off approach working with you?” invites specific feedback about behaviors.
Useful feedback is specific and timely.
How might you seek specific feedback this week?
Nice quote …
One to live by … literally.
Thanks Rurbane. Good of you to stop in. Have a great week.
I recently went through a 360. Great input from my team, peers and boss. It gave great direction to my future & need for patience and listening to understand. I probably wouldn’t be making the improvements without the great, honest feedback from others.
Thanks Rich. I’m glad you brought up your 360. Let’s face it. They can be painful. But they also represent tipping points in a leaders journey.
Maybe seeking feedback from those have more knowledge and insight than I currently have so that I can learn from a higher perspectives.
Thanks Gerry. Makes perfect sense. I think the main idea is getting input from someone who has a different perspective.
I suppose leaders could also seek feedback from people who report to them. It might not be a higher perspective, but it will be a different one.
Asking for feedback has been tricky for me because I do feel I am putting that person in a position of superiority. I feel very vulnerable in that position and really dislike it, but I do want to improve, so I do it. When I do this, my thought is that the other person doesn’t see me as a strong ‘person’ or doesn’t actually see me growing.
This article is going to change my life as I now feel I can ask for feedback and further my growth in others eyes, vs. give them perception that I may not be comfortable in a leadership position. Thank you!
Thanks Jseyler. Yes, you said it. I hate the “I’m needy” .. “Do you like me?” kind of feedback. So often we’re just looking for affirmation and that’s needy.
It feels a bit more leaderly when we declare an intention. I’m working to improve my listening skills…what am I doing that makes you feel like I’m listening? What am I doing that makes you feel like I’m not listening? How might I improve my listening?
Goes in my annual review goals I’m writing now. Thanks, Dan.
What I like aboutThe Leadership Challenge is that when you ask for feedback, you’re specifically asking about behaviors–things you can easily change–not personality traits. It’s a lot easier to hear feedback about behaviors you can do more often.
Pingback: 5 Surprising Truths About Feeling Inferior - Leadership Freak