A former boss asked me to give feedback on how he was doing as a manager. It was the first time he had ever asked me or anyone on the team. I was kind about it, but let him know an area to improve.
His response, much like many others who receive feedback, came off as defensive and deflective. Neither of which made me feel like sharing feedback again.
There is an intricate dance of leadership when it comes to feedback. A leader's ability to ask for and receive feedback gracefully can determine the harmony within their team. But in the world of business and leadership, embracing feedback isn't just about receiving it – it's about what happens next.
To ensure leaders are able to use feedback towards growth rather than criticism:
Acceptance. The first step after receiving feedback is to listen without defensiveness. Constructive criticism is not an attack; it's a gift. Leaders should approach feedback with an open mind, acknowledging that there is always room for improvement. A leader's ability to absorb feedback, whether positive or negative, demonstrates humility and a commitment to personal and professional development.
Reflect. Consider its validity and impact on both personal and team goals. Use feedback as a mirror, allowing it to reveal blind spots and areas for refinement. This introspective process is crucial in transforming feedback into actionable insights.
Share. Communicate your reflections with your team, fostering an environment of transparency and mutual growth. By openly addressing feedback, leaders demonstrate vulnerability and create a culture where everyone is encouraged to contribute to the collective success.
Take Action. Asking for feedback is great. But eventually it will be time to take action. Identify specific areas for improvement and formulate an action plan to address them. And update the team on the steps being taken to demonstrate commitment but also to invite others in the improvement process.
Receiving feedback is not a moment of judgment; it's an opportunity for growth. Leaders who embrace feedback with an open heart, reflect on it earnestly, and communicate transparently are the conductors of a team that continually evolves and excels. Like a symphony, leadership is a collaborative effort, and the beauty lies in the continuous refinement inspired by the music of feedback.