Two Strategies to Learn and Improve From Up, Down and All Around Voices
By Chad Cook, Chief Catalyst, Cook Consulting Group LLC
Editors Note: Finding a job you love is the first step in a fulfilling career. The Interview Doctor is pleased to provide another perspective for growing in a job you love.
Humans are creatures of habit. We behave the same today as we did yesterday and will tomorrow. This might be comfortable for us but our behavior can cause problems and confusion in the workplace. It also opens us to the judgments of our behaviors from others.
360 degree surveys have been very popular. Colleagues assess the impact of their leader’s behaviors on performance.
Companies use surveys for performance review and management development. The feedback can be useful beyond the data itself if we look a few steps further.
Seek feedback – Feedback is important in any learning process. We can get feedback from an assessment tool, focus groups, or coaching meetings. The source of feedback is less important than what we do with it. Some people are more comfortable with one form over another.
The trick is to be truthful and honest in your request for feedback. Ask the people you send the survey to help you by sharing his or her reality. Explain that their feedback will be anonymous and only reported in the aggregate, not individually. People giving you feedback should understand how you want to use the information – for self-improvement.
Once you have the feedback though, you should give a response back to the givers. To skip this step erodes trust on your team. They will not be as likely to provide quality feedback the next time around. Why should they if it had no consequence the last time? Team members will feel used and that their input was ignored.
Validating techniques – The challenge with all feedback, especially 360 degree feedback is interpretation so you can take legitimate action to improve.
- The first way to demonstrate positive improvement in the eyes of others is to go back to them (as individuals or as a group) and share the findings of your feedback. This helps you be sure you are interpreting the feedback in the way they meant.
- The second action that will garner respect and engagement is to provide your interpretation of the data and then ask them for their interpretation. Does it validate or invalidate your interpretation?
- The third action you can take to build deeper trust is to ask for your team’s assistance in practicing behaviors that will help everybody work better together. You may have many ideas about what these could be. Commit to a couple and ask for their ideas about how best to implement them.
There are many more ideas for how to benefit from feedback but these will get you started demonstrating respect for your team, honoring others, and being open to learning from others about your behaviors. This is the best way to repay your team for the gift of feedback they shared with you.
Now the challenge is to discipline yourself to practice new habits!