If you really want to grow, make sure the feedback you get is real. If not, it has no real value.
Here are 2 reasons why –
- Feedback is the best way to grow and develop yourself.
- People hesitate from giving open and honest feedback.
Valuable feedback is the fuel you need to grow and develop. That is, the kind that is open and honest.
But how do you know if people are being totally open and honest with you?
Let’s face it, people hesitate from giving open and honest feedback because they don’t know how the other person will react.
Therefore, depending on who you need feedback from, you need to vary your strategy (boss or direct report?).
This is exactly what this article will help you do.
HOW TO GET IT FROM ABOVE AND BELOW
1. Introduce the behavior you wish to improve:
- “How much did I look at the ground during my presentation?”
- “Did I cut anyone off during the meeting?”
And when unaware of your negative behavior, you can ask:
- “What was missing for you in the presentation?”
- “What did you notice about my behavior in the meeting that wasn’t well received?”
By bringing it up first, you invite others to give you the “hard” feedback that is often held back.
2. Ask ahead of time to watch for specific behavior:
- “Can you observe my eye contact during the presentation?”
- “Can you watch for things I do or say that negatively impact others during the meeting?”
As established, when asking your team or direct reports for feedback a different approach is needed.
The next 2 ways will make it easier for them to give you…
3. Request regular feedback (formal and informal).
By simply asking someone for feedback, you communicate that you value their opinion. By acting on it, you send an even stronger message.
And don’t just wait for the official, company-driven times for feedback exchanges – if a year-end review is the only time they have a chance to give you feedback, how authentic do you think it will be?
If you’re giving and receiving feedback on a regular basis, there shouldn’t be any big surprises during the official exchanges.*
TIP: Experiment with your team to find the most effective way to get feedback. Here’s a practical template with 20 Q’s to use or tailor.
*If one of your goals is to increase transparency, don’t make it anonymous!
4. Make it part of the team culture.
To embed this habit in your team, here’s an effective 2-step approach:
Step 1: Make it regular (see #3 above).
Step 2: Make it a common goal and priority.*
Once it’s part of the culture, everyone will be open to it – even the “hard stuff”.
If you give people the chance to give you open and honest feedback, they’ll be more open to yours’. If you don’t, they won’t. It’s that simple.
You have to give people the feeling that you hear and value their opinion, even if you don’t agree with everything.
TIP: Before giving someone feedback on their performance, ask for feedback on yours’.
*Once it’s seen as the key to your team’s performance, it will become a top priority.
MILLION DOLLAR QUESTION
If you recognize the value of open and honest feedback exchanges, here’s a question that will save you all bucket loads of time and energy:
- “What do you need from me right now?”
Imagine if you used this one question at the start of every exchange – especially the challenging ones?
However, to get an open and honest response there needs to be trust. And this is a great way to build and increase it.
By going directly to the core of the issue, you save everyone involved time and energy.
If you feel the question is too direct for some situations, you could say something like:
- “What’s important for you to achieve at this meeting?”
- “What would be a good outcome of this review for you?”
It doesn’t matter how you formulate it. The message is the same.
Again, if you’re authentic, they’ll feel it. If you’re acting strategic or playing politics, they’ll feel it.
Above all, keep in mind that you are dealing with another human being, not a machine or problem to be solved.
To make your intentions transparent, you can say:
- “This is what I need right now…”
- “This is what I’d like to achieve today…”
Bottom line – Be authentic in both your words and behavior. People not only feel this, they act on it.
In the end, open and honest feedback exchanges save everyone time and energy. Therefore, learning how to do it is in everyone’s best interest.
So whether it’s facilitating a feedback exchange or leading a challenging conversion, the goal is to make it open and honest, i.e. valuable.
To underline the urgency, here are 3 BIG BENEFITS:
- Clarify the purpose of the meeting or exchange for increased clarity.
- Clarify expectations (on all sides) and remove hidden agendas for increased trust.
- Identify and manage conflicts that negatively affect collaboration for increased efficiency.
To get started right now, here are 3 SMALL STEPS:
- Recognize that feedback is the key to your peak performance.
- Create an open feedback culture by making it a top priority.
- Practice open and direct contact in all your interactions.
Final fact: Valuable feedback shines a light on your blind spots. If you want to achieve peak performance, you need access to these!
What question or technique can you add to mine?