A Manager’s Guide to Getting Feedback
When you’re the leader, it can be down-right difficult to get candid critiques or compliments – because most often what you’re told is inhibited by fear or coated with ulterior motives. Your team doesn’t want to tell you something that might put them on your “bad side.” So, they choose to tell you that which is more likely to land them on your “good side.”
Getting honest-to-goodness feedback from reports – isn’t as easy as one might assume. But, here’s the thing: it’s pivotal to a leader’s success and development. Not only that, it’s necessary for a team’s success and development. The better the manager becomes – the better the team becomes. SuperSTAR leaders live this out. SuperSTAR leaders know that it’s their job to intentionally and diligently seek out feedback. Laissez-faire leaders wait to see if it comes their way; not only that, but typically, they hope it doesn’t come their way because their scared of what the truth may be.
If you’re wondering which camp you belong to – ask yourself now: What have I done in the last week to solicit feedback from my direct reports? Soliciting feedback is ACTION-ORIENTATED. You must do something if you want to know what to do. Are you worried that the report of your reports isn’t going to be all that remarkable? That’s understandable – it can be very frightening to open ourselves up to an open-ended question like, what do I do as a leader that isn’t helpful? But, the great news is that just by asking the questions and valuing the answers – you are communicating a whole different kind of message to your team. You are becoming a better leader just by asking for their insights. Do you see how simple this is?
It takes a lot of courage and humility, but it’s leaps & bounds above any other feedback-soliciting approach. Just ASK. Keep encouraging your team to tell you the truth. Keep creating a space that honors and protects people’s opinions. If you want to become the leader your team longs to follow – you need to know what it would take for them to get behind you. And you can’t know that unless you go alongside them, ask them and then step out in front of them – in ways that they recognize, respect and really want to get behind.