HOW TO TAKE FEEDBACK AS A LEADER

Inasmuch as Leaders give feedback, they take feedback too. If you remember from the last episode, feedback is described to be a two-way street. Good leaders know that taking feedback brings individual progression especially when we know that feedback is not ‘a one and done’ kind of session (Pearson, 2019). When leaders get to the point where they come to the conclusion that feedback is a process, then the whole idea of taking feedback becomes an exciting place for leadership to succeed. Leaders should be gracious to flow fluidly within the feedback loop, forward and backward. Obviously, in giving feedback, you take feedback. The one thing worth sharing here is that many leaders are quick to give than to take feedback.

“……many leaders are quick to give than to take feedback”

In a seminar, a participant asked: how do I take feedback from junior colleagues who find it difficult to even correct a line manager. My answer? Simple! Act like a controlled pro. Don’t set a meeting up the same way you do when you intend to give feedback. In taking feedback, sometimes, let the meeting be informal. Yet, take exceptional interest in the matter by listening actively (and not passively). You can listen actively in a discussion by responding aptly and paying courtesy by giving undivided attention to your colleague. The beautiful approach in taking feedback is by following up after giving a very good feedback. This is a simple but very difficult approach in taking feedback, especially where the leader has to swing if not tranche his or her emotions to reflect his every mood accompanied by the expressions of his or her actions.

Listening is crucial in taking feedback, and it cannot be compromised. As a matter of fact, we listen to learn, unlearn and relearn. In the process of taking feedback, we listen to get information.  Also remember that good leaders thrive on information. Hence, listening is crucial for good decision making. In the process of taking good feedback, listening guides understanding. In effect, leaders must have positive gestures; smile and nod with great facial expressions. Don’t forget the use of simple verbal comments like mmmmm, yes, ok, right, uh huh etc. In taking feedback the number one currency is respect. There is always a possible counter intuition of ideas and opinions. It is just fine and also expected. To show maturity, defer judgment when taking feedback and possibly wait to comment after taking in.

One great skill in taking feedback is to ask good questions (Manktelow, 2016) . Asking good questions obviously trigger good answers. For example, if your colleague at work asks you to change the colour of the background to your presentation, don’t hesitate to ask why your colleague is asking you to change the colour and if possible ask again the impact of the outcome as against your initial choice. To embrace the process of taking feedback, recipients must not expect to hear the nice things. Rather, reflect on the positives. Take deep breath always and regularly remember that colleagues who give feedback are only interested in making you a better individual. 

This is Leadership!

Author: Richard K. Ahenkorah

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