Float Like a Butterfly or Sting Like a Bee?

Since I began working in business, I’ve received every type of feedback you can imagine. Mostly regarding my performance, but some were bits of feedback critical in propelling me forward. However, there have been times where performance reviews and feedback stung me every bit as much as a bee sting. It was even more hurtful when it came from a person I respected and trusted.

If you’re like me, you probably have gone through similar “tough love” situations. You know it when it happens. The all too familiar, “you’re really great at this, but…” comment. It’s even more painful when you already knew there was an issue with your performance or leadership, you just didn’t want to face the cold hard facts. However, feedback is crucial to our development as leaders. No matter if it is a reality-check you needed or if you are completely blindsided by the advice because you thought you were doing great, the point is it can help you grow and push you towards powerful change. If you want to lead your team successfully, you have to learn how to take feedback seriously. By welcoming advice and understanding its importance, you can experience change and growth unlike anything you ever imagined. You also need to be grateful to the person who took the time and risk to be truthful with you about your oportunities.

Here are three ways you can make the most of honest “tough love” and improve your leadership along the way.

Truly hear what’s being said. Don’t just nod your head when feedback comes your way. Instead, listen intently as the person you trust and respect tells you where there is room for improvement in your work. Stay open-minded and don’t brush off advice as jealousy or some other thing it is not. See it for what it is and appreciate it.

Ask questions if you’re unsure. If you do not agree with feedback you receive, ask questions. Ask the person why they feel the way they do, and have them explain in detail where you are going wrong. For example, if someone says you aren’t making the grade as manager, question their reasoning and dig in deeper. Could you possibly manage your time better or improve your client relations to quell the concern of the person offering feedback? The only real way to know the answer is to ask poignant questions.

Be thankful. Resist the temptation to “shoot the messenger” when receiving feedback. Look beyond the person who is giving you “tough love” and look at what is being said. Once you realize the truth of their feedback and the opportunity to advance, you need to display gratitude and thankfulness for their concern and advice. Tell your advisor that you value their opinion and explain to them how you plan to use their advice to progress.

Can you think of a time when feedback has helped you improve your leadership?


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