In any leadership role, a significant challenge is to get the very best from employees. In doing that, the careful balance between nurturing to build confidence and offering constructive feedback can be difficult to achieve.
To help leaders build the trust that is needed to create the most value-creating relationships with employees, one step is not just to offer and provide good, developmental and constructive feedback, but also to receive it too.
For many leaders, being on the receiving end of feedback can be one of the most difficult things to accept. It’s as though a leader feels the onus is on them to be perfect.
The truth is, appearing on a pedestal of perfection is never really true and merely a figment of a leader’s disillusioned perception. And their people don’t even expect it either.
Far better to be real and accept feedback well.
You’re a Leader – So, How to Accept Feedback?
Many employees, even when given a free run at giving their boss feedback, will find it quite hard to do.
Some of the basics need to be in place to have the very best of relationships with your people, so there is an upfront investment in generating good relationships ahead of time.
Even with the most wonderful of relationships with your team, many will be intimidated by you, just because you are their boss.
To help them along the way to your development, there are a few tactics to adopt to make sure that you receive that generous gift of feedback that you can richly benefit from.
5 Feedback Accepting Tactics
1 Accept it Well – When others offer you feedback, it’s vital that you accept it as that gift it is. Encouragement will come when they feel that you appreciate it without any risk to themselves that you might ‘take it the wrong way’ – with consequences to come back to bite them.
2 Never Debate It – The feedback you are provided with is best absorbed without debate. When you are given feedback, their perception of you is very real, so to argue and reason about what you are told will always be counter-productive.
3 If Necessary Seek Clarification – Do ask for detail if you need it. It shows that you are listening; that you value their input and that you are keen to do more to improve.
4 Thank Them – Accepting feedback with good grace and thanks will encourage them to do it more. And you can only benefit from the input about you that you receive.
5 Act on the Information – This doesn’t mean that you jump to everything you hear. A skill is to interpret what you have heard in your feedback and adjust your actions accordingly, where you feel that change will be valuable. You don’t have to dance to the whole tune!
Good, constructive feedback adds value. The least likely to receive feedback are the very leaders who need to model that they too can respond to the changes they need to make, to be even better than they already are.
And being able to respond to the feedback they receive really is a sign of a truly great leader.