As a leader, creating an environment where open communication and feedback are welcomed and encouraged is important. You not only need to give continuous feedback to your team, but you must seek it out as well. Asking for your team's input and allowing staff to express their opinions about your leadership style and their experience at the organization gives you the chance to address their concerns. That information then enables you to build a stronger and more effective organization.
Receiving feedback gracefully and taking action to make the necessary improvements boosts your performance as a leader. It also creates a healthy work environment where everyone can thrive.
Yet, asking for and receiving feedback can be humbling and frustrating because it requires you to be vulnerable. You must be ready and willing to acknowledge that you can improve. You might even find some weaknesses that you need to address.
Being on the receiving end of feedback helps you be more empathetic because it reminds you of what it is like for your team to receive feedback from you.
It is critical that you actively and openly listen to feedback from your team. As a leader, you are modeling good communication for everyone else in the organization. Like it or not, they look to you to show them how to behave and to learn what's acceptable in your culture. Everyone's watching you for your reaction. They want to see how you respond to feedback, especially if it is negative.
Of course, you still get to decide what suggestions to implement. But your willingness to listen and act upon some (if not all) of these suggestions shows you are open to becoming a better leader. Your response sends a positive message. And your commitment to improving is how you will build a strong, productive, and communicative culture.
Getting feedback from others can be awkward, frustrating, or even irritating. Perhaps they don't have all the facts or present their feedback as if they know more than you do. Regardless of their level of knowledge, it is important to seek, receive, and integrate feedback from all levels of your organization to gain a broader perspective.
Think of the television show "Undercover Boss," where the leader was often shocked to learn how front-line workers felt about the organization. But if you build feedback into your organization's SOPs, you won't have to go undercover -- you'll already have a handle on the problem areas.
As the person in charge, it's important not only to tolerate receiving negative feedback but to request it and acknowledge its value. Feedback allows you to hear your team's perspective and helps you know how to improve the organization and be a more effective leader.
To better receive and integrate feedback from your team:
As you build trust with your team, they will openly share their ideas and model your kind and thoughtful approach. Seek your team's feedback regularly, and use it as an opportunity for you and your employees to learn and grow together as a unified organization. If you'd like to improve teamwork, productivity, and workplace culture, consider a company-wide professional development program that teaches strong communication skills, such as The Communication Protocol.
And while being open to feedback might sound simplistic, the long-term value to the organization extends to the next generation of leaders.
©Copyright 2022 Debra Roberts, LCSW All rights reserved. No portion of this material may be reproduced without permission from the publisher.
A version of this article was initially published on Inc.com as: To Improve Your Performance as a Leader, Seek Feedback
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