Do we really seek out and welcome feedback? Or do most of us prefer not to be told about the things we could be doing better?
Many of us cringe at the thought of asking others to tell us what they really think of us. “Why invite criticism?” they ask.
And I must admit, there is a kind of “ignorance is bliss” feeling about NOT knowing how others really feel. Many leaders justify not asking by telling themselves, “My employees are grown ups. They can let me know if anything is wrong.” Or, more typically, “I’ve told them repeatedly that they can always give me feedback.”
The problem is that they usually don’t. The leader, in fact, is usually the last to know when her or his performance is negatively impacting someone else.
When we don’t create opportunities for others to give real feedback in a way that allows honesty and candor, we miss out on opportunities for change and we run the risk of allowing bad to get worse. If our followers have thoughts to share or requests to make, but no safe and prescribed pathway to let us know, they will often simply disengage from their work – ever so slightly.
Slight disengagement, if left untreated, can become pronounced. It can also become water cooler talk, or absenteeism, or even the loss of our talent pool.
Don’t get sucked in to this negative spiral! Instead, create positive opportunities for structured feedback. Consider an annual 360 assessment.
A 360 assessment tool is designed to give us feedback on our performance from a 360 degree view. When complete, we receive feedback from our boss, our direct reports, and business partners and our peers. When well designed, the feedback is fair, thorough, and actionable. It should NOT leave you feeling hopeless or criticized. Rather, it can and should feel realistic and (dare I say) supportive.
For those of you who are willing to face your fears, getting feedback in a structured way can be a huge career boost and it can counter all of the negative effects mentioned above. It can help us see ourselves from a new perspective and highlight opportunity for change that we didn’t know existed. It can help us see the impact that we are really having on others before it’s too late.
Imagine what a difference this could make!
- You get feedback that is actionable and balanced.
- Your followers get a dedicated leader who is willing to grow and change.
- Your performance improves.
- Their engagement skyrockets.
- It’s a new and beautiful day!
So, fear not! If you are interested in giving and receiving better feedback, or even in doing a 360 assessment, give us a call. We can help you open those lines of communication and stimulate healthy conversation.