How to get the feedback you didn’t want to hear
What if there were things you are doing – or not doing – that are sabotaging your success? What if there are few key things you’re missing that could help you get even better results? There’s only one way to find out, and that’s by getting feedback.
Unfortunately, feedback is sometimes given a bad rap. Poorly conducted performance reviews, harsh criticisms by thoughtless colleagues, and bad experiences with multi-rater feedback systems all contribute to the temptation to steer clear of feedback if you can help it.
But feedback is how we learn. Without feedback and reflection, you have no way to know how you’re doing. You don’t know what others think of you or how you might be holding yourself back. What you don’t know can hurt you. A lack of self-knowledge can limit your opportunities and even stall your career.
On the other hand, when you seek feedback, you open yourself up to reflection. You become much more thoughtful about what you’re doing and why, how you can improve, how you can maximize your efforts and get better, more predictable results.
When you get high quality feedback, you gain a tremendous advantage. By seeing yourself as others see you, suddenly you realize where, why and how you can improve. You understand where you're holding yourself back and where you have the opportunity to surge ahead. Asking for feedback can benefit you in the following ways:
- Identifying Your Strengths. Feedback helps you maximize your natural strengths and reach your full potential. This is a good idea anytime, but especially when you're secure in your skills and competence and want to truly excel.
- Seeing Into Your Blind Spots. You might want feedback because you want to improve your leadership and see into your blind spots. This is particularly important when you have been newly promoted or are in the throes of a new endeavor.
- Meeting Your Goals. Feedback gives you specific direction on how to meet your goals. This approach works best when you are already clear on what your goals are. You don't need information about what to do, but rather how you are to do it.
- Preparing for Advancement. You might want feedback to prepare yourself for advancement. This method is best when you are seeking less self-awareness and more advice and direction.
- Becoming More Effective. Feedback can help you become more effective in your current job, which is helpful at any time and in fact is a strategy you might want to use over and over. Feedback can even give you a sense of what your clients want and need. By asking questions not just about yourself, but about your clients and customers, you can better serve their needs and therefore increase your value to them.