There are people who believe in you. Some you know, some you don’t, some you may be surprised to learn they view you as highly as they do.
People I’ve talked with in the last few weeks have felt everything from elation to kicked in the gut from survey feedback about them. Of course, they focused on the negative comments.
Now, they’re stretching their boundaries as they grapple with what they’ll do. First, they have to turn off, or at least turn down the volume of, their negative thoughts to allow the good ones, the building blocks for what’s possible, to surface and be developed.
I helped each of them see their feedback as a gift. It’s not often we get to know what others really think. It’s what we do with it that counts. I know leaders who’ve shrunk from negative feedback, while others have soared because of it, getting clear on how they want to be viewed and changing or increasing the frequency of some behaviors to work toward it.
Our behaviors are at the core. Are we thoughtfully candid? Do we ask questions seeking to understand others’ viewpoints? Do we really listen? Do we clarify what we believe is being asked instead of moving forward with assumptions? Do we ask what we could do to help others be more successful? Are we consistently dependable? When do we express appreciation?
Sometimes it takes swallowing your ego and reaching out. One leader (Karen) learned that a direct report marked her low because she was annoyed at how Karen had handled their recent communication. She hadn’t gotten what she needed, and Karen was unaware she needed more context.
Only because Karen talked 1:1 with her people to let them know she was taking the feedback to heart and wanted to work on areas that were marked low did this person open up. It led to a fruitful discussion clearing the air that Karen didn’t know had become so polluted.
People believe in you. They want you to do well. And when you do, the ripple effects touch more than you’ll ever know.