Author and former television anchor, Suzanne Bates, speaks to learning from feedback below.
“Let’s say people who know you well say that you’re the real deal (“authenticity”). If asked, they’d tell others “What you see is what you get.” However, you’re new in a role, and after six months, lots of people have heard “rumors” about you but haven’t had a chance to get to know you. They’re viewing you as distant or hard to get to know. That’s a valuable insight. You can now arrange your time to be present, to communicate more intentionally through virtual and in-person meetings, and to make it a point to reveal more about yourself in these communications.
As another example, if a leader’s peers appreciate the way she solicits their opinions, but her direct reports say she seems too busy to stop, listen and hear them out (“concern”) that could explain why they aren’t bothering to brainstorm good ideas and share them with her. If the team admires a manager for making even daunting goals seem possible (“vision”) but his boss doesn’t see that fire in his belly, it could explain why he hasn’t received funding for an innovative project.
We all have strengths, and sometimes we’re not even aware that people view us as confident, visionary or resonant with others. Use feedback to leverage your strengths to develop in new areas. Don’t just go to what needs to be fixed.
Developing your executive presence can be challenging, but it can be mastered with time, effort and coaching. The reward of this sometimes formidable journey is becoming that leader who others admire.”
Whether in the workplace or elsewhere, we can always improve as leaders and being open vs. defensive about feedback is invaluable. Not all feedback is accurate and in a perfect world, it would be agenda free and of the highest value, however, we know better. Reaching out to a more neutral third party, like a coach, can expedite the process and help sort out your concerns minus the politics of the situation.