Are you getting feedback on a regular basis as a leader? If you are a CEO, is your senior leadership team comfortable giving you feedback? Are you getting feedback from your board? How are you handling it?
What does it feel like when you get negative feedback? For me, sometimes I can get defensive. It can depend on the subject, and on my own emotional state and level of stress at the time, but more often than not my tendency is to be defensive.
When I get ‘incoming’ data that creates discomfort and isn’t really welcomed, its easy to disagree, turn it off or find reasons to blame, get irritated or angry, or even go so far as to punish the ‘perpetrator’.
Of course ‘how’ it is delivered matters, but that is up to the person giving it to me. For my part, there are a few things that I can do to listen, learn, and grow.
Instead of getting defensive, I have learned to respect the process in most cases, and to appreciate the honesty and authenticity of the person who is speaking to me. That person is offering help, giving me a gift, which should be considered ‘gold to mined’.
The feedback just needs to be heard in the proper context, and an appropriate response given. It helps to think about feedback as good ‘food’ to chew on.
When receiving negative feedback, and the defensive hackles start to rise, I’ve learned to apply the Rule of 1%. The Rule of 1% recognizes that at least 1% of what the person is saying is probably true.
This opens a crack in the door of defensiveness, and allows a rational, unemotional discussion to occur.
From there, discovery happens, and when I discover things about myself that previously were hidden to me, at least in my conscious awareness, then I begin to grow.