I have been fortunate to have great success in my career and personal life. When I reflect upon the moments that allowed me to achieve my goals and realize my dream, there is one common theme – feedback. In management and leadership training, there is often quite a bit of emphasis on the giving of feedback, and developing people in a way that inspires them to grow new skills and align with the goals of the group or company.
There is a quote that says, “When the student is ready the teacher appears.” In my experience, the teacher often appeared before I knew I was ready. Feedback came to me in many ways. Never communicated perfectly, it seemed to appear when I wasn’t in the right space or felt like I didn’t need it. Over time, I learned that when the teacher appeared, I better pay attention.
Let’s peel back the layers of feedback – from how we receive others’ comments about ourselves to how it ultimately helps us all adapt and grow. When you learn to give constructive feedback effectively, you will be able to manage and grow your team by helping them develop professionally. Practice the skill of feedback with many different types of people and come from a place of wishing sincerely for their success. Learn to adapt your skills until you are always moving others and yourself forward, by sharing what needs to be developed to move the team and the organization to the next level.
Forms of Feedback
Sometimes I found feedback inspiring, other times it was shocking or simply arrived when I asked for it. From critical, cynical, and intimidating to direct, appreciative, and encouraging, feedback was delivered to me in various forms across a spectrum. Whether loud or quiet, it consisted of yelling, jabs, correction, and complaints to praise, compliments, rewards, and applause.
Reflect on what will be the most effective way for people to receive feedback from you as a leader. By practicing feedback and looking for “the teacher” in every situation, you may find feedback in situations where others don’t yet see it. Help your team to understand when they are receiving a form of feedback they didn’t recognize.
As a leader, you will also receive many types of feedback to interpret into your own growth.
Reacting to Feedback
Feedback allowed me to know what was on target and what was not. When I was a child, I would be aghast, cry, dwell, and lose momentum. As I became an adult, I learned how to feel, listen, reflect, adapt, thank the individual, and connect to others for additional insight.
I took the salient pieces to increase the strength of my practice, whether it was for my role as a student, athlete, artist, teammate, sister, mother, wife, friend, colleague, or business professional. I discovered there was always a “golden nugget’ in the feedback from others that could help me to be even better. Or maybe what they did not like was perfect, because it validated who the experience was for.
Here you may find mentorship opportunities to help people see the “golden nugget” and react appropriately to the feedback they receive. Modeling your own reactions to feedback will show your team an example they can follow.
Hearing What is Needed to Adapt and Grow
The more you understand others’ goals, you will be better able to align them with the team/company, and connect them to the resources that allow them the tools and skills they need to grow. This will strengthen the individual and your team.
They may not always like to hear what they don’t want to hear, and that is going to be part of their growth and development. Your job is giving feedback, and helping them hear what they need to hear to continue to adapt and grow.
Practice the Skill of Feedback
When it comes to feedback, some will want it, and some will not. It is the job of a leader and good manager to provide feedback for others to reach their best potential. Sometimes you will do it right and sometimes you will not. But remember this – when you hold yourself back, you hold others back as well.
If you would like to continue to learn new models and methods for feedback, contact us. Remember feedback is a practice, and if you keep it alive, caring, forward-focused, and are open to changing your style and methods, you will help others achieve.
Continue to grow through connection and feedback.