Admit it - we don’t always see things how they are. It’s easy to perceive the world from our own set of glasses, but it can be incredibly difficult to see things from another’s point of view. But, if we don’t welcome feedback, we’ll always be operating in the illusion of me, me, me.
You’ll never grow if you shy away from feedback. Whether it’s praise or critique, it’s important to listen (not just pretend to listen) to what people have to say.
While team-to-team transparency is vital in the workplace, this culture of sharing is easier said than done.
But, at work, gold stars really do mean something. As a manager, you are in the perfect position to provide that all-important feedback to your team. Now that we’re remote, hopefully you're providing feedback and support in a more meaningful way than just Instagram ‘likes’.
We’ve already proven that feedback is an addiction. Since we know this, the real question becomes how to take the real feedback and turn it into a powerful growth-generating strategy.
How can we optimize feedback to become more effective, more honest, and more successful? How can we be truthful while still getting our message across, without hurting a team member’s feelings or boosting their ego?
Okay, there are many questions wrapped up into one. But coming up with these answers is important for teams right now. We need to foster cultures of feedback - especially when it’s hard. Here are my thoughts on this:
Being Vulnerable is Being Strong
Vulnerability is too often mistaken for weakness. But that’s not how I view it at all. On the contrary, I see vulnerability as an expression of true strength.
The moment you allow yourself to be vulnerable enough to accept - to really accept - what someone has to say, you’ve already conquered more than half the battle. Shaping a culture of feedback is really about being willing to hear out what someone may say, which lies in not being attached to the way you’re doing things.
If it’s either your way or the highway, you’re putting yourself before your team’s success. Optimization is about finding new and better ways to operate, which naturally means making changes to your norms. Simply by being willing to change is how we can grow the most.
Critique isn’t Always Criticism
If we’re ready to accept that gold star or smiley face, we also need to be open to what’s underneath the iceberg. Just because it’s not a full-blown compliment doesn’t make it a dig or an insult. Feedback comes in many different forms, but it’s always valuable - and that doesn’t mean it’s criticism.
Your team has to understand that hearing what other people are saying only makes them better. It’s not always easy, but fostering a culture of feedback within your team will contribute to your overall success and individual growth.
Here are 3 quick tips for helping both you and your team embrace feedback:
Start by requesting feedback from your team about your own protocols. Lead by example and coax it out, both good and bad, from your team members.
Stress the importance of kindness. This way, your team will know how to say the hard things in a way that doesn’t come off as insulting.
Strengthen your bonds. This way, you’ll have to worry less about people misunderstanding feedback or purposefully trying to hurt feelings.
How do you handle feedback?