As a follow up to one of my previous articles I thought providing recommendations about how to take feedback would be appropriate. Taking feedback can be hard to hear and emotionally difficult to receive. If it is delivered properly you will know it is not personal and is meant to be developmental.
Your team is extremely nervous about giving you feedback Their whole goal is to make their lives better. They do not know how you will take it: fight it, deny it, redirect it, or just listen. I have seen all of these and the one that works the best is to just listen and ask probing questions for clarity. It takes a lot of patience, but it works.
This should be a huge win-win!!
Remember just because they asked for something does not mean you have to do it. Some of the things they ask for will not be in your control; others are things you are not willing to do. (i.e. allow them to work for 1 hour a day) The things that are pain points for them and are in your control should be your priority. Here is the best way to receive feedback from subordinates:
- Set the tone for the meeting. Tell them you look forward to their feedback and let them go. (One brave soul will be appointed to start the session. It is a tough job so make sure he/she knows you appreciate their courage)
- Listen and make sure you understand what they are telling you; ask questions for clarification, do not disagree. The minute you disagree you send the message you do not care. (I have seen this, and it made me think the manager was “checking the box”)
- Be aware of your body language and your facial expressions, they are a lens into your thoughts.
- Ask for specific observed behaviors so you understand what the team is telling you. Paraphrase the feedback back to make sure you are on the same page.
- Ask the team what they want from you and develop a plan.
- Ask them how you are doing periodically.
If this is done correctly there is no better way to make your life better! Your team will become more effective and they will make you look fantastic. I loved the feedback from my team, it helped me become a more effective manager and better leader. As one of my previous managers use to say, “I am only as good as you allow me to be”. Nothing could be truer.
Lindsey Levine was in the corporate world for 30 years in a Sales Management Position where one of his key responsibilities was hiring. He transitioned to his new career and is the principal of Lindsey Levine Resume and Interviewing Preparation