A few weeks ago, I was carrying out a training programme on Giving and Receiving Effective Feedback.  During the session, I noticed that the managers don’t feel comfortable asking for feedback.

As a leader, it can be easy to get caught up in the demands of the job and forget to pause and reflect on how you’re doing. That’s why it’s so important to ask for feedback from those around you. Feedback can help you identify blind spots. It improves your leadership skills and builds stronger relationships with your team.

Yet, many leaders avoid asking for feedback, and here’s why.

Fear of criticism

Leaders avoid asking for feedback because they fear criticism. It is hard to hear negative feedback, right? Remember that feedback is not a personal attack. It’s an opportunity to learn.

Lack of trust

Leaders avoid asking for feedback because they don’t trust their team to be honest with them. You may worry that your team will sugar-coat their feedback to avoid conflict. They might hold a grudge if their feedback isn’t acted upon. Trust is essential to any healthy relationship! If you don’t trust your team to give you honest feedback, you need to work on building that trust.

Complacency

Some leaders avoid asking for feedback because they’re complacent. You may think you’re doing everything right and that you don’t need to improve. This mindset is dangerous, and it can lead to stagnation. There’s always room for improvement, right?

What happens when you don’t ask for feedback?

When leaders don’t ask for feedback, they are missing out on opportunities to improve their leadership skills. You will continue making the same mistakes. When you don’t ask for feedback, you will create a culture of silence.

What happens when you start asking for feedback?

Leaders who are good at fostering a culture of giving and receiving feedback are more likely to see higher engagement and retention.

Asking for feedback helps to create a sense of ownership and investment in the team’s goals and objectives.

When a leader receives feedback from their team, they can take better decisions.

7 Tips for overcoming your fears and start working on those feedback muscles

If you’re a leader who’s struggling to ask for feedback, here are some tips to help you overcome your fears:

1. Reframe your mindset

Instead of seeing feedback as criticism, see it as an opportunity to gain a different perspective. Remind yourself that asking for feedback demonstrates leadership and strength, not weakness.

2. Build trust

Work on building trust with your team. Make it clear that you value honesty and that you’re willing to listen to their feedback, even if it’s difficult to hear. Trust is both ways – be a role model of trust.

3. Start small

If you’re not used to asking for feedback, start small. Ask for feedback on a specific project or task and work your way up to more general feedback. Use any opportunity to practise. Why not ask people outside of work how they are seeing you? This will give you a real 360° snapshot.

4. Be specific

Be specific about what you want to know. Ask open-ended questions that encourage your team to share their thoughts and feelings.

5. Listen

Make sure to listen to what others are saying. Avoid becoming defensive or dismissive and try to understand their perspective. When you are open and you listen, you show that you value their input and you are open to improvement.

6. Follow up

Once you’ve received feedback, follow up on it. Let them know that you’ve heard their feedback and that you’re taking steps to address their concerns.

7. Make it a habit

The more you practise the more comfortable it will become. The people around you will feel safer giving you feedback and more open to receiving feedback from you.

Bonus tip

Be grateful. Thank those who give you feedback – even if you disagree with them. Let them know that you appreciate their honesty and that you’re committed to using their feedback to improve.

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