A leader told us, “I wish my people would ask me how they are doing or what they need to do to improve. It would make it so much easier to give them the feedback they need and I would have more confidence that they are going to do something with it.”
- When was the last time you asked someone for feedback about your personal effectiveness or your communication style?
- When you get feedback, what do you do with it? Do you defend, or do you reflect?
A GenY sat down in her performance review and got a very blunt, somewhat harsh, critique from her senior manager. Since her own supervisor had been giving her glowing recommendations, it took her aback. She was upset and initially hurt by what she believed was a focus on only what she wasn’t doing right, with little regard for what was working well.
When she reflected about what he was telling her, she realized that the kind words and encouragement she had been getting from her supervisor, while making her feel good, it did little to help her improve. She saw that his inability to tell it like it was had hindered her growth. Her senior manager was frustrated with her for not making the kind of progress he had expected her to. Once she realized that this senior manager was helping her see where she stood, she focused on what she needed to do. She wrote him an email thanking him for his blunt but helpful feedback and that she was going to work on the issues he addressed. He was impressed with her response to the session and even more impressed with how quickly she turned herself around.
Do you know where you stand?
- Are people telling you what you want to hear or what needs to be said?
- Are you sending signals to be kind and gentle or are you asking for the truth?
- And, as Jack Nicholson asks in A Few Good Men, “can you handle the truth?”