Thanks for the Feedback?

“You have got to delegate, let go, and trust that other people can figure things out!”

I fell silent as I sensed exasperation in the words of my husband and business partner, Bud. I knew what he said was true.

Receiving feedback well is not easy for most of us, yet it is crucial to growing in personal insight and leadership!

We are wise to seek out feedback or counsel from others. This works especially well when we have developed peer relationships authentic enough to speak and handle truth, coach, mentor, or counsel.

Unexpected – and sometimes unwanted – feedback such as criticism or unsolicited advice also abounds if we are tuned in and open to it. Admittedly, this type of feedback can be difficult to hear:

  • It comes when we’re not expecting it
  • It may not be delivered in the best way
  • It is often tied to our identity or how we see ourselves as leaders

Still, Proverbs, the wisdom book, encourages us to accept feedback even when it stings!

Faithful are the wounds of a friend [who corrects out of love and concern], but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful [because they serve his hidden agenda]. (Proverbs 27:6 Amplified)

Feedback, when received well and coupled with prayer, yields growth in emotional intelligence and personal insight. Here’s the formula:

Prayerful, self-reflection + Feedback from others = Increasing Insight

People we lead have good ideas. They often see ways we could increase our influence. They notice when we blunder. Yet most people will never tell us. They have learned the importance of being polite and speaking only “positive” words.

So, build the habit of not only receiving feedback well but encouraging it:

  • Frequently solicit feedback and let others know that you desire feedback
  • Listen carefully when someone gives their thoughts and ideas. Ask questions to be certain you understand their perspective
  • When someone is brave enough to give feedback, say thank you
  • Give feedback well (By the way, the best and most needed feedback is often telling people how they got it right!)

I did tell Bud ‘thank you’ for his feedback later in the day. And I followed it, because I knew it was good feedback. God has been bringing this message to me in a variety of ways.

For even more insight into benefitting from feedback, check out the Harvard Negotiation Project’s book entitled Thanks for the Feedback by Douglas Stone and Sheila Heen. It’s readily available on Amazon.