Tips for Receiving Feedback
Chapter Ten. The more frequently people ask for and accept feed- back, the easier it will be to deliver and to hear, especially when both parties share similar values and aspirations. The more accustomed people become to giving and receiving feedback, the more comfort- able they get with the process. The more you show you are open to feedback, the more others will view the process as constructive. But it’s critical that you set the right climate for feedback. Reviewing past behavior can’t be a search for culprits or an opportunity to fix the blame. Regularly soliciting feedback should be a routine examina- tion of “what happened” with the intent to make sure that learning takes place and that any problems that may have occurred are not repeated.12
Often leaders fear the exposure and vulnerability that accom- pany direct and honest feedback. Those giving the feedback can often feel a bit exposed themselves and may even fear hurting someone or possible retribution. It’s a risk, but the upsides of learn- ing and growth are far greater than the downside of being nervous or embarrassed. Learning to be a better leader requires great self- awareness, and it requires making yourself vulnerable. By asking for feedback, you signal to others your openness to doing what is right, and make it easier for others to be receptive to learning about how well they are modeling the way.
TEACH OTHERS TO MODEL THE VALUES
You’re not the only role model in the organization. Everyone should set the example. Words and deeds have to be aligned at all levels and in all situations. Your role is to make sure that your constituents are
G E keeping the promises they have made. People are watching how you
hold others accountable for living the shared values and how you reconcile deviations from the chosen path. They’re paying atten- tion to what others say and do, and so should you. It’s not just what you do that demonstrates consistency between word and deed. Every team member, partner, and colleague is a sender of signals about what’s valued. Therefore, you need to look for opportunities to teach not just by your example but also by taking on the role of teacher and coach.13
Exemplary leaders know that people learn valuable lessons from how unplanned as well as planned events are handled. They know that people learn from the stories that circulate in the hallways, in the break room, in the cafeteria, on the retail floor, and on Facebook and Twitter. Exemplary leaders know that what gets measured and reinforced gets done. People attend to metrics as well as stories. And exemplary leaders know that if they’re going to create a high- performance culture, they have to pay attention to bringing on board people who share the values that are held dear.
In order to show others what’s expected and ensure that they hold themselves accountable, you need to confront critical incidents, tell stories, and make sure that organizational systems reinforce the behaviors you want repeated.