As leaders, we’re often giving our teams feedback that will help them grow and develop. But what happens when someone on your team gives you developmental feedback? How do you take it? I’ve seen several responses ranging from sarcasm to defensiveness to agreeing immediately and then using that feedback against the person later.
Most recently, though, I experienced the most positive response I’ve seen in a leader. Let’s call her Alison. I explained to Alison that a certain behavior she often demonstrated was stalling my development. Alison listened, then proved that she had by adding to what I had said, and empathizing with me. She told me she fully agreed and asked for my help in stopping her the next time she behaved this way. Then the next day, Alison came to me first thing and thanked me for the feedback. She said she had thought about it further and realized that she was doing the same thing to others on our team, and I had helped her to realize it. Wow!
The funny thing was that I knew Alison was a great leader when I went to her with the feedback. In fact, I found it extremely difficult to give her feedback because of this. I mean, how could I be going to such a great mentor and coach and asking her to change her behavior? But, after hours of fretting about what to say and how to approach this, I knew that I would want to be told if it were me. Alison demonstrated her great leadership once again by showing her desire to continue to improve and her understanding of how she was affecting the team.
When you receive feedback from others, do you think about the courage it took them to come to you? Do you consider how important it must be to them? And do you think about the fact that if this is bothering them, it might be bothering others too? How do you react to feedback?