Receiving the gift of constructive feedback and how it helps you become a better leader
As a leadership coach, I understand the importance of constructive feedback in helping leaders grow and improve their skills. Receiving feedback can be a gift, as it can provide valuable insight into areas where you may need to improve and help you become a more effective leader.
In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of receiving constructive feedback and how you can receive this gift as a leader.
“Great leaders are willing to sacrifice their own personal interests for the good of the team.”
– John Wooden
The Benefits of Constructive Feedback
Constructive feedback is feedback that is aimed at helping you improve, rather than criticizing you for your mistakes. While it may be difficult to hear at first, a leadership coach will help you to understand how receiving constructive feedback can help you in the following ways:
A leadership coach can demonstrate how constructive feedback can help leaders identify areas where they need to improve their performance. For example, if a leader receives feedback that they are not delegating tasks effectively, they can work on improving their delegation skills to become more effective in this area.
A leadership coach will show how constructive feedback can help leaders gain a better understanding of their own strengths and weaknesses. For example, if a leader receives feedback that they are not communicating effectively with their team, they can become more aware of this weakness and work on improving their communication skills.
Encouraging Growth and Development
Constructive feedback can encourage leaders to grow and develop in their roles. For example, a leadership coach will illustrate if a leader receives feedback that they need to be more assertive in their decision-making, they can work on developing their assertiveness skills to become more effective in their role.
A leadership coach can help with constructive feedback to improve relationships between leaders and their team members. For example, if a leader receives feedback that they are not providing enough recognition or feedback to their team, they can work on improving their communication with their team members and providing more feedback and recognition.
Creating a Positive Culture
A leadership coach can assist with constructive feedback to create a positive culture of continuous improvement and growth within an organization. When leaders are open to feedback and encourage their team members to provide feedback, it creates a culture where everyone is working towards becoming better and more effective in their roles.
A leadership coach will leverage constructive feedback to encourage leaders to innovate and try new approaches. For example, if a leader receives feedback that their team is struggling with a particular process or project, they may be encouraged to explore new approaches and solutions to help their team succeed.
A leadership coach will use constructive feedback to enhance a leader’s decision-making abilities. For example, if a leader receives feedback that they need to be more data-driven in their decision-making, they may start incorporating more data and analytics into their decision-making process to improve their decision-making.
Increasing Employee Engagement
A leadership coach will show how constructive feedback can increase employee engagement by demonstrating that the leader values their input and is committed to their growth and development. This can help create a sense of loyalty and commitment among employees.
Improving Employee Retention
A leadership coach will utilize constructive feedback to show leaders how to improve employee retention by creating a positive work environment where employees feel heard, valued, and supported. When employees feel that their input is valued, they are more likely to be committed to the organization and stay with the company long-term.
Fostering a Learning Culture
A leadership coach will ask the leader to use constructive feedback to foster a learning culture within an organization. When leaders are open to feedback and encourage their team members to provide feedback, it creates a culture of continuous learning and improvement.
“The best way to find out if you’re doing something right is to ask somebody
who will tell you the truth.”
– John C. Maxwell
How to Receive Constructive Feedback
Receiving feedback can be challenging, especially if it is critical or highlights areas where you need to improve. However, a leadership coach can step you through multiple ways you can receive constructive feedback in a manner that is productive and helpful.
Listen with an Open Mind
When receiving feedback, it is important to approach the conversation with an open mind and be willing to listen to what the other person has to say. A leadership coach will demonstrate how you can avoid becoming defensive or dismissive of the feedback.
Example: “Thank you for sharing your feedback with me. I’m open to hearing your thoughts and appreciate your honesty.”
Ask Clarifying Questions
A leadership coach will help you to understand the feedback, by asking clarifying questions to gain a deeper understanding of what the other person is saying.
Example: “Can you give me an example of a specific situation where you observed me doing this?”
Seek Specific Feedback
When asking for feedback, be specific about what you want to improve or learn more about. A leadership coach will help you seek more targeted feedback from the other person that is relevant and actionable.
Example: “I would like feedback on how I can improve my delegation skills. Can you share your thoughts on how I could improve in this area?”
Take Time to Reflect
After receiving feedback, take some time to reflect on what was said. The leadership coach will ask you to consider the feedback in the context of your goals and values and think about how you can apply the feedback to improve.
Example: “Thank you for your feedback. I appreciate your perspective and will take some time to reflect on what you’ve said and how I can improve.”
It’s important to express gratitude for the feedback, even if it was difficult to hear. A leadership coach will practice this art to help you build trust and strengthen relationships.
Example: “Thank you for your feedback. I appreciate your willingness to share your thoughts with me and will use this feedback to become a better leader.”
Stay Calm and Composed
When receiving feedback, it’s important to stay calm and composed, even if the feedback is difficult to hear. A leadership coach can aid in helping you avoid reacting emotionally or becoming defensive.
Example: “I understand that this feedback is important, and I appreciate your honesty. Please give me a moment to process and reflect on what you’ve said.”
Focus on the Feedback, Not the Person
When receiving feedback, focus on the feedback itself, rather than the person providing the feedback. A leadership coach will assist you to see how this will help you stay objective and avoid becoming defensive.
Example: “Thank you for providing this feedback. I’m going to take some time to reflect on it and see how I can use it to improve my leadership skills.”
Don’t Argue or Make Excuses
Avoid arguing or making excuses when receiving feedback. A leadership coach will show how this can create a defensive environment and prevent you from learning from the feedback.
Example: “I appreciate your feedback, and I understand that there’s room for improvement. Can you give me some specific examples of what I could do differently?”
Ask for Specific Actionable Feedback
A leadership coach will ask for you to seek specific and actionable feedback that you can apply to your leadership skills. This will help you focus on specific areas for improvement.
Example: “Can you give me some specific feedback on how I can improve my communication skills with my team? I’m open to any suggestions you might have.”
After receiving feedback, follow up with the person who provided the feedback. A leadership coach can work with you as you apply their feedback and what you’ve learned from the experience.
Example: “I wanted to follow up with you and let you know that I’ve been working on improving my delegation skills, based on your feedback. I’ve already seen some positive results, and I appreciate your help in this area.”
“Leadership is not about being the boss. It’s about taking care of those
who work for you.”
– Richard Branson
How a Leadership Coach Can Help
As a leadership coach, I specialize in helping leaders improve their skills and become more effective in their roles. A leadership coach can help you make the most of constructive feedback by:
Providing an Objective Perspective
Sometimes it can be difficult to see the bigger picture when you’re in the middle of a situation. A leadership coach can provide an objective perspective on your actions and behavior, helping you see areas where you may need to improve.
Offering Guidance and Support
A leadership coach can offer guidance and support as you work to make changes based on feedback. They can help you create an action plan to address areas for improvement and offer accountability as you work towards your goals.
Helping You Develop Self-Awareness
A leadership coach can help you develop a deeper understanding of your own strengths and weaknesses, as well as any blind spots that may be hindering your leadership. By gaining self-awareness, you can more effectively manage your own behavior and communicate with others.
Teaching Effective Communication Skills
Effective communication is essential for receiving feedback and implementing changes. A leadership coach can teach you communication skills that will help you receive feedback in a positive way and communicate more effectively with your team.
Providing Resources and Tools
A leadership coach can provide resources and tools to help you implement changes and improve your leadership skills. This might include books, articles, or other resources that can help you learn new skills and techniques.
“Good leaders must first become good servants.”
– Robert K. Greenleaf
Receiving constructive feedback can be a gift for leaders, helping them improve their skills and become more effective in their roles. To receive this gift, leaders should be open to feedback, create a safe environment for others to share their thoughts, ask for specific feedback, take time to reflect, and take action based on what they have learned.
A leadership coach can help leaders make the most of constructive feedback by providing an objective perspective, offering guidance and support, helping them develop self-awareness, teaching effective communication skills, and providing resources and tools to help them improve. By working with a leadership coach, leaders can develop the skills and knowledge needed to become more effective and successful in their roles.
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Based on that exposure, our company has intentionally set out to support those practicing the art and science of leadership – or as often referred to, “Executive Talent.” These are people who acknowledge that they are not experts. They are open to opportunities for continued growth and carry the desire for learning what is needed to become a success in today’s complexity and uncertainty.
To this end, we have purposely structured our company and engaged with associates in strategic global locations, so that we are able to provide the full suite of transformational executive career coaching, facilitation, and education support required.