How Feedback Can Transform You from Manager to Leader
When you’re the manager, it can be down-right difficult to get candid feedback from our employees. When you do you tap a potential often unrealized in you. However, often times critiques or compliments are coated with ulterior motives or filtered by fear. 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”. Can you relate?
A Best Training for Me: Feedback from My Team
We had a great month as a team. So I impromptu mention one day to everyone we should go out for a quick bite and drink. While not all could make it, five others joined me. So, we found a nice place close by the office and ordered dinner. One person mentioned we should do something else with the others. We agreed to set it up at the next team meeting. Our discussions wandered about everything but work. I mostly sat there and occasionally added a comment. We told some jokes and had a few laughs.
Later, out of the blue, someone brought up a problem at work, and part of it involved me. It caught me a bit off guard. Everyone at this point was pretty loose and relaxed so the conversation flowed freely. I held my tongue, listened and asked clarifying questions. I became amazed as the conversation wandered into deep territory about a goal a that we were struggling with. Each person directly but respectfully shared about problems and innovative ideas. Furthermore, I received genuine feedback to back-off from direct involvement. The team agreed that our service manager had more experience in that particular area.
The Feedback Began My Transformation from Manager to Leader
As a result, the discussions morphed into slow motion for me, like how they do in the movies in some action scenes. Consequently, I listened more, thought about their feedback, asked questions, and lightly facilitated a discussion that was already working well. Not that I had great skill and insight on how to handle what was happening. It just seemed right. We ended up in a good place agreeing to a plan. In addition, it included what I needed to delegate, and where I could focus more. I learned valuable lessons about how to get and hear feedback that night. Some of the best training I ever had.
While I already respected my team, my appreciation for them grew immensely. Their performance seemed to get even better. Mine, too. I often wondered what would have happened if I had reacted defensively or took charge of the meeting. Fortunately, I didn’t and I believe I began the transformation from manager to leader that night.
Feedback is the breakfast of Champions
I believe Ken Blanchard said the statement above. How powerful it is if we listen and act on it. Getting honest-to-goodness feedback from direct reports isn’t as easy as one might think. Yet, we need feedback on working with them, how to reach our goals, everyday problems and dealing with customers. Yet, here’s the thing: it’s pivotal to a leader’s success and development to ask and listen. Not only that, it’s necessary for a team’s success and development. After that night, getting feedback became seamlessly stitched in my communication. I learned I didn’t have all the answers, and it liberated me to keep learning and seek multiple perspectives.
The better the manager becomes, the better the team becomes. Exceptional leaders live this out; they know that it’s their job to persistently and carefully request feedback, input and involvement. I am grateful my team taught me how to be much better at doing that.
Do you agree?
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