A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a post about giving feedback (you can read it here). A reader wisely observed, “This is helpful not only for giving, but also for being open to receiving feedback.”
Absolutely true, and since I hadn’t thought of that, I was especially grateful she took the time to email me.
(I hope it’s no surprise that I appreciate reader feedback!)
Receiving feedback well is a skill, and it’s a skill leaders need to develop.
Leadership is all about the gray areas. Decisions tend to lack obvious yes-or-no answers, and managing people is always a subjective process. Every person on your team is a unique individual with different skills, aspirations, motivations, and desires. The only way you’ll ever know if you’re leading effectively is to pay attention to the feedback you receive.
One aspect of feedback is obvious: your team’s performance.
Another is equally obvious: is there turnover on your team – are people quitting on you?
But the key skill in receiving feedback is more subtle – and it’s essential if you want a team with top-notch performance and low (or no!) turnover.
Real listening means being willing to be changed by what you hear.
You might want to read that again: real listening means being willing to be changed by what you hear.
That doesn’t mean you have to agree with everything.
But it does mean you need to listen to both what is and is not said.
If you never hear anything negative, you’re not listening. If no one is willing to tell you what’s wrong, you’re not leading.