Last week I encouraged leaders to think about how receiving feedback can be an opportunity to capitalize on personal growth. If you want to go back and review the post, or if you missed it entirely, you can click here and get caught up.
Utilizing feedback doesn’t get enough attention in organizations. Most of the emphasis is placed on making sure leaders have feedback. Ok. Great. We are spending money making sure they have the information, but how are we investing and supporting them in processing the gift they receive?
In organizations, we treat feedback like getting an Instapot for Christmas. This complicated pressure cooking device has more buttons than my TV remote control (which I don’t know all those buttons either). The instructions on the Instapot are so complicated and overwhelming, there is genuine fear of blowing spaghetti sauce all over the living room if you press the wrong button!
Receiving feedback from organizations could be compared to the fear of pressing the wrong button on the Instapot. All of this data comes in and you hold the instructions in your hands not quite sure what to do with it. You may struggle with being completely overwhelmed, or even feeling paralyzed if the proper processing support is not provided. All of this feedback is well-intentioned, but is it helpful if the leader doesn’t get the chance to really take the time to understand what the feedback is saying?
When working with clients who are getting organizational feedback, there are four key elements that will help them process the information:
Ownership: How emotionally dependent or independent are they on what others are saying? Are they trying to fit in and be like everyone else? Or are they in control, and not overwhelmed by the emotion they are feeling from the feedback? A leader with ownership can tolerate people not liking them or agreeing with everything they say.
Empathetic Understanding: Are they able to see the feedback from the perspective it was given? They don’t have to agree with it, but can they contextualize it? The goal isn’t to fix everything right away, but to understand the feedback and take some steps toward processing change.
Rigid Stance: The polar ends of this spectrum are performance and relationship. On one end, the leader focuses so heavily on tasks that they cannot see relationships are damaged. On the other end, the leader is so focused on relationship nothing ever gets done.This usually shows as justification for whatever behavior the feedback has uncovered.
Self-Regard: How well does the person know themselves, their strengths, and their weaknesses? Are they attuned to their natural gifts and using them to achieve their calling in life? Do they understand their position and are they working to strengthen their organizational voice? If not, they are more than likely on the other end of the spectrum, which is a lack of acknowledging strengths and using victim voice.
As we use the gift of feedback in organizations, we should also work with our leaders on how to process the gift. We need to help them contextualize and get the full breadth of the feedback before we run to an action plan to fix anything. Most of the time, nothing is really broken. In my experience, most development work comes from overplayed strengths. While the changes might seem monumental, the person receiving feedback is more-or-less experimenting with slight modifications and practicing their newfound insights.
Do you know someone who has recently received feedback or are you in the process of giving feedback? Helping them process feedback will go a long way to revealing the gift of becoming the person they desire to be.