Using feedback properly is one of the best ways to improve your leadership and communication skills. It also allows you to assess how you’re doing to achieve your goals. Using feedback helps you discover your blind spots and ways to implement what you’ve learned with practical approaches, which will create positive results in your personal and professional life. If you act upon the feedback, you will enjoy greater outcomes including improved performance, personal motivation, and collaboration.
Getting feedback is an emotional and daunting experience that requires a lot of understanding, learning, and patience. Receiving feedback can trigger emotions of losing power and less control. It’s difficult to see other people see you. Are you a good communicator or not? Ask yourself these questions.
• Do you find it hard to present a differing point or opinion?
• Are you able to effectively articulate yourself logically and clearly?
• Do you often misunderstand the message being conveyed by the sender? Maybe you’re not listening to their full intent, and this often leads to misunderstandings on meetings or projects.
• Do you prefer written communication over verbal or vice versa?
• Do you cut off people before letting them speak because you want to participate and get your opinion into the conversation?
If you answered yes to these questions, you should get feedback from other people to help you improve your communication skills. Focus on how you will respond to the feedback, not on how it was delivered. Understand why the sender may be upset or why he gave that feedback. Was your reaction to the feedback appropriate? Establish a forward focus with the feedback given to you and how you react to build stronger relationships. Here are other tips on how you can use feedback constructively.
You have to listen to what others say. Don’t cut off people just to explain your actions. Be open to constructive criticism. If you’re not open to improving yourself and understanding other people, you won’t become an effective communicator. While your response may have had validity, but perhaps it was your delivery that was off to the receiver. Process the information and think about everything that happened before taking any action. Tell the other party that you’ll think it through. What’s important how you respond to the feedback and what you learn from it.
Promote a culture of open sharing to build trust and safety, so feedback becomes second nature to everyone in the organization. Focus on emotional intelligence when getting feedback. Keep your emotions under control and ask the sender to talk about your communication skills and what they like about. You should separate fact and opinion as well as obtain further verification. Do other resources say the same thing about your communication skills? No one wants to be told their weaknesses, but consider this as a learning curve. You will learn from your mistakes and improve your weaknesses.
Don’t just seek verbal feedback. Look for non-verbal ones as well. Is someone nodding just to appease you? Do they stop engaging whenever you interrupt them? Don’t focus on negative feedback as it can jeopardize the opportunities available to you. Try to have a rounded perspective and ask the feedback sender for recommendations on how you can improve next time. You should also ask insightful questions and get advice from a mentor on how to detract any negative behavior.
You may not need to act upon every feedback you get, but you can ask questions to make things clearer for you and then decide how you’re going to manage the feedback. Don’t forget to thank the person who is giving the feedback. Aside from building trust, expressing your gratitude will also make the person feel valued. It takes a lot of gut to tell someone the truth, so appreciate and respect their effort for sharing their feedback with you.
Don’t ask for feedback if the timing isn’t right for you. If you’re angry or tired, don’t get feedback at that time. Use the feedback you get constructively.
Always keep in mind that communication is a never-ending process. Feedback is an important channel to indicate your weaknesses and strengths. As you move up in your organization, you will face more communication challenges. You should be open to receiving feedback and how to constantly improve your communication skills. There is always a room for improvement and getting feedback will improve your performance. It is your chance to accept developmental advice to become a better leader.