Learning How to Take Feedback

People raising conversation bubbles

“If you could learn to not always take the credit, you could be an amazing leader.”

“You sometimes expect too much out of people without training them enough or telling them what you want them to do. People can’t read your mind!”

Ouch. That was real feedback I received three years ago from a 360 feedback survey I participated in at my company.

We often say we want feedback, but what do we do once we receive it? When I first read my results, I was alarmed and embarrassed and I didn’t want to take them seriously. I thought both comments had some truth in them but were an exaggeration of the reality. I didn’t always take credit. And I had many mentoring conversations with my staff and actually prided myself in scheduling in training time. But I clearly wasn’t having effective conversations and after a few days, I decided to accept the feedback as a gift. I had glided through the previous five years receiving a lot of compliments on my work. But I was now managing more people and I really wasn’t very polished in my new role. And the feedback supported that.

I really like this quote from ex Boeing and Ford CEO, Alan Mullaly: “Think about just exceeding expectations of every job you’re being asked to do. Continually ask for feedback on how it’s going. Ask everybody involved what you can do to do an even better job, and the world will beat down your door trying to ask you to do more and more.”

I think most people go as far as their own talent and drive can take them. Blinded by what we want to see, we’re handicapped by where we point our own sights and views. Through feedback, we can see how our words and actions affect others, and this is the key to making big improvements in our impact at work.

Like customers, employee feedback is usually right on the money.

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