How to Get Useful Feedback from Liars
People lie to leaders. Usually it’s not malicious, but it’s always unhelpful. Team members who aspire to get along or get ahead…
- Soften criticism.
- Deflect tough answers.
- Over-state compliments.
Authority corrupts interactions. If your team treated you like a subordinate, you might receive useful feedback.
When you hear negative feedback, someone is usually disgruntled, leaving, or has an agenda.
How to get developmental feedback from liars:
#1. Don’t ask your team to rate your performance on a 1:10 scale.
The number they assign says more about them than you. It’s more about liking and aspiration.
Anonymous evaluations are often axe grinding opportunities.
#2. Ask for input.
“What three to five leadership qualities/behaviors seem most relevant when you think of the direction we’re going this year?”
Add your own items to the list and send a compilation to each team member.
#3. Two responses.
First response: “Put a star beside three items on the list where you think I excel.”
Second response: “If you were to choose three areas that would be useful for me to improve – with the next 12 months in mind – which three items come to mind? Please number them one through three. (‘One’ indicates most useful to improve.)”
Tip: The items they rank by number are likely worse than you think.
#4. Choose one item to develop.
#5. Grow with the team.
Tell your team your current focus of development. “I’m working to better energize the team over the next 30 days,” for example.
Ask, “What behaviors might help improve your ability to energize others?”
#6. Track progress.
Once a week ask, “What specifically are you seeing me do that energizes others?”
#7. Adopt a new focus at the end of 30 days.
An inclusive process will likely fuel their desire to improve as well.
How might you modify the above list?
Give them permission to give you negative feedback.
When I conducted seminars and college classes, I’d ask students to provide written answers to these two questions.
1. What’s one change I should make to today’s seminar or class?
2. What’s one thing you liked about today’s seminar or class?
Thanks Paul. One thing I like about your questions is it doesn’t ask what’s wrong. You don’t even ask, in the first question, what they liked or didn’t like.
This is great, but it pre-assumes there’s a team.
One honest conversation went like this:
Subordinate: “Can you spell team?”
Leader: “Of course! T.E.A.M!”
Subordinate: “No, you missed out the F.”
Leader: “But there’s no F in team!”
Subordinate “That’s what we keep trying to tell you…”
Would love to see the opposite side of this coin. How to GIVE developmental feedback to employees. I struggle right now with leadership not offering any real developmental feedback. I want to continue to grow and get challenged, but my leadership is more focused on their own tasks. I get that we have to get our jobs done, but I lose inspiration and motivation when I don’t feel like I am growing.
This is an elephant in the room in a lot places. You’re not there to grow and develop, you’re there to get a job done. Some of the most depressing feedback I’ve ever heard was “I want you to keep doing what you do, how you do it, for ever”.
Mitch, …that’s an excellent point.
A company that is not interested in growing and developing employees is failing. If your employees skill level grows you are adding value to your company. Plus you are going to run the risk of increased cost due to turnover if you run the risk of losing them to other opportunities.
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