Do you really understand and leverage the value of receiving feedback? It’s February and for a lot of people are like, “it’s February, big deal. One month closer to Spring.” Now it is a big deal and I’m going to tell you why. At The Simon Leadership Alliance, we have decided that February is now officially Feedback February.
Why do I care so much about feedback?
My life was changed when I was sitting in a lecture five years ago, along with some other coaches trying to figure out this game called coaching.
I asked a question to the facilitator. Bob Dunham. I can’t even remember the question. I asked him the question. He gave me the answer, and immediately I said, “but Bob, what about this?”
And he said, and I quote you, “Mitch, you don’t listen.”
You don’t listen. Three words. The best feedback I ever got in my entire life encapsulated into three words.
Now what was great about that was I was listening.
I mean, I was finally listening. It is really hard to NOT LISTEN to someone who says, “Hey, you don’t listen.”
Those three words really changed the nature of my projectile, my future, my transformation.
Those words really changed my ability to not only listen but also to see the mistakes I had made; to see what I was doing and what I wasn’t doing that could have changed everything…choices in my career, my romantic choices, in how I related to my children.
In January we make new year’s resolutions. We resolve to change, but by January 9 (yes, it has been statistically proven that it is January 9) most of us have forgotten those resolutions. What I know is that to keep your resolutions, get better, be an incredible leader and an incredible team player you must ask for, accept, and act on feedback.
Receiving Feedback: A lesson from Improv
Here’s the deal, most people are terrible at giving feedback.. Most people are afraid to tell somebody else what they should do or stop doing. They’re often afraid because they’ve got all these internal thoughts about not being liked, not being right, or not being confrontational.
That is why, if you really want to get better and create teams that crush it, you must focus NOT ON GIVING, but on RECEIVING Feedback. If we’re being honest with ourselves, nearly all of us underestimate the value of receiving feedback.
I perform Improv at the National Comedy Theater, the longest-running comedy theater in San Diego.
We have a lot of rules in improv, but the best rule is “Make your partner look good.”
When you are on the Improv stage everything is made up. You have no idea what the other person is thinking and you have no idea what the scene is about. Also, you have no idea if you’re going to actually leave the theater with your head high or between your knees. The way you create magic is you focus all your energy on making the other person on stage look good. On stage is we’re giving them feedback, which is basically telling them how to be in the scene. When the player takes the feedback as a gift, they get tremendous laughs, because their listening creates connection, reality, and energy.
For example, if I walk up on stage and yell at the other player, “Hey, Mildred, I have told you a million times, I hate avocado in my Nachos!” it gives the other player “feedback” to invent themselves as a partner who has many choices as to what to do next. If I said, “Hey, Mildred, what’s for dinner?” I provide no feedback for them to make them look good and create a powerful scene.
Improv, which is life reflected on a stage, teaches us that to create powerful human beings, to make others look good, we must always be in the practice of giving others feedback. It’s through improv that I’ve also understood the value of receiving feedback.
Receiving Feedback in Improv
- Listen for the Feedback
- The best improvisers listen to great feedback so then they can become a memorable character.
- Make the other person look good
- Your job on a team is to make everyone else on your team look good.
- Accept the feedback and act on it.
- In order to be powerful, and to get greater results, listen, take feedback and act on it right away.
Receiving Feedback as a Leader
Now you will see the parallel of the steps behind receiving feedback in improv and seeking feedback as a leader.
- Ask for feedback
- Take it, listen to it
- Act on it.
Seeking feedback to become a better leader and human is one of the most vulnerable things we can do.
The act of asking for feedback is telling the world, I want to be better. I’m not as good as I could be right now, and I want you to support me. This act has people see you as someone who is courageous, determined, and matters.
Teams are about making your partner look good. Life is about making the people in your life better and look good. But it’s got to start at home. And it’s got to start with you.
The Value of Receiving Feedback
Feedback is a gift. When you begin seeking and receiving feedback from others for the sake of becoming a better human being, you are getting the most value you can as a leader. There are billion-dollar industries out there completely dedicated to eliciting feedback for leaders, but we have all forgotten that sometimes, we just have to ask! Getting truly honest, transparent feedback from the people we love is priceless. It allows us to increase our own levels of self-awareness, identify areas for growth and begin to step into bigger versions of ourselves. That’s what leadership is all about.
And if you happen to actually listen, you might get information that will change your life.
INTRO TO THE 21 DAY FAST FEEDBACK CHALLENGE
I dare you to get 2-4 words of feedback every single day for 21 days and share it online.
“Be more patient.”
Join my 21-day Fast Feedback Challenge. This challenge will help you see what is truly possible for you as a leader and to discover opportunities for your growth, all for free. This is going to give you incredible insight on the value of receiving feedback. I’m going to be right by your side, doing this challenge along with you, and giving you guidance to discover the feedback that can truly transform your life.
It’s called “Feedback February.” What I’d love for you to do is go out and ask people for feedback. It’s a very vulnerable thing. Most of you won’t do it, I get that. But for those of you who do, I want you to go get feedback, and then share the feedback you’re getting online.
I really do think that through this process of you sharing what people are telling you to do better, you are going to make a huge dent in the universe, to encourage others to ask for the feedback that will change their lives.
The first person I am going to ask is my assistant Justine Fraley.
I will ask her, “What is one thing I can do to be better in our relationship to make things better? Can you please tell me in two to four words?”
So that’s it. That’s my dare. It’s Feedback February.
Let’s push it out this whole month. Let’s get some feedback, and let’s see how it changes your life and the relationships and the intimacy that you have with your loved ones, your family and with your team because I’m all about creating great teams.
Share your feedback with us on social media using #fastfeedback and click the link below to sign up for our 21-day Fast Feedback Challenge.
Fast Feedback Cards
In fact, we created Fast Feedback Cards. These cards are divided into four categories that help strengthen trust, increase collaboration, help you discover how to better develop your team members, and helps hold you accountable as the leader to show your team the way.
These cards include fast feedback such as
- Step into your power
- Share your vision
- Allow me to fail
- Give me challenging work
- And Celebrate Milestones
The purpose of the cards is for you to get “fast feedback” from your team members to help you develop yourself as you develop them. Once you complete the Fast Feedback challenge, and you begin your journey to seeking feedback as a leader, I’m going to offer you a special deal to purchase these cards and a discount to my new online course, Leadership Straight Up, where I help you transform into a Straight Up Leader as you begin digging deeper into the feedback that you are receiving.
Additional Perspectives on Giving and Receiving Feedback
Basic Guidelines for Giving Feedback
A Contrast of the Technical and Social Science Views of Feedback
Leadership Knowledge Base: Information to Improve Your Leadership Skills.
Respect for People Doesn’t Mean Avoiding Any Hint of Criticism
How to Deliver Bad News to Employees
How to Give Your Boss Feedback
Giving a High Performer Productive Feedback
Criticism: How to Handle Negative Feedback From Your Boss
Feedback: Employee Want To Know How They’re Doing
Recognition: Getting People To Give Their Very Best
What Kind of Feedback Are You Getting From Employees?