Receiving feedback as an important part in the growth process. However, unless we are proactively seeking feedback, we can easily miss it.
I have made a habit of not only being open to receiving feedback from others, but asking for it on a regular basis. I believe that we judge ourselves by our intentions, and others by their actions. This of course makes us vulnerable to overstating our own performance, and understating others. Feedback helps balance this tendency.
How well do you receive Feedback?
I am currently reading a book by Douglas Stone and Sheila Heen titled, 'Thanks For The Feedback – The Science and Art of Receiving Feedback Well, even when it is off base, unfair, poorly delivered, and, frankly, you are not in the mood.' How’s that for a long title!
They assert that we know feedback is essential if we want to learn and grow, both in the workplace and our personal relationships – but we dread it and often dismiss it. Recently I have been reminded that feedback is constant, and all around us.
Einstein said that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. I believe this also to be true with regard to our actions – people are reacting to us all the time. However, often we are too absorbed or blinded by our intentions to see the consequences of our actions.
What if we focused less on being right and more on being better?
As the title of Stone and Heen’s book states, the usefulness of feedback is not hugely dependent on how it is given but on how it is received. Successful leaders are constantly noticing feedback they are receiving from those they are interacting with or trading circumstances around, and they are courageous enough to adjust their behaviour in response to it. I suggest that the more aware and accepting we are of feedback, the faster we grow and therefore the better decisions we make.