How often are you getting honest and real feedback? If you sit quietly and reflect on this, the answer may surprise you…
If you are like most people, the answer could be almost NEVER.
To play at a higher level, the first thing I tell my clients is to find the people they respect, and ask them,
“Tell it to me straight.”
Most people won’t “tell it to you straight” unless you ask them to. They will protect your feelings in the hopes of avoiding potential drama (real or imagined). Nobody wants to hurt your feelings.
Make no mistake, it takes courage to ask for honest feedback. Feel the fear and do it anyway.
It’s worth it, because straight talk tends to trigger within us the powerful conviction that we can do better.
I’m thinking of a client. I’ll call her Catherine. I met with her just after she received some tough feedback, and I could tell she was holding back tears. This is some of what her direct reports said about her:
“Catherine isn’t approachable.”
“She seems angry if I present an opinion she doesn’t agree with.”
“I get the sense she is annoyed when I have questions.”
“Sometimes her sarcasm stings.”
When I asked about her reaction, she said, “I can’t believe this is happening. I never wanted to be this kind of leader.”
Catherine dried her tears, took a deep breath, and then we got to work. We decided to meet weekly for six weeks. She had a chance to practice some new skills with me and then try them out with her team. Catherine kept a journal to track her progress, and she allowed herself time to create some new, healthier communication habits.
I'm happy to say that according to recent data, she is having a positive, empowering effect on her team. Catherine deserves a lot of credit for taking decisive action.
It all started with inviting honest feedback and allowing herself to aim higher.
So, who is holding you to a higher standard? Are you listening?
P.S. - I am a coach, with over 25 years of experience helping others give and receive difficult feedback and a myriad of other communication challenges. If you want a complimentary chat, give me a call.