Most of us are afraid to seek feedback, and don’t realize the people in our life are holding the 🔑keys 🔑 to our success. They hold insightful perspectives about you that they aren’t going to tell you unless you ask for it. But, you probably won’t. You won’t ask because it’s too scary.
“What if they say something bad?”
The mere thought of asking for feedback sparks the voice inside your head as it begins to catastrophize the very thought of what someone might say about you. What if they tell you that you’re terrible at something? What if they make you feel dumb? And what if they point out all your wrongs?
The voice inside your head is the reason why most people are afraid to seek feedback. They listen to that voice and so they carry on with their lives, not asking for feedback.
And then, something bad happens. You get skipped over for a promotion, you get an F on a test, your partner breaks up with you, and you wonder, “What could I have done better?”
You could have asked for feedback earlier. But you let that fear control you instead.
The most successful people don’t listen to that fear. They have that same fear, but they don’t listen to it.
Successful people understand that to seek feedback means that you’re up to something huge in life. These people are connected to the importance of the mission that they’re on and the role that feedback plays in that mission.
That mission can be in so many different parts of your life.
That mission could be,
- The reason why you go to work every day,
- Your family
- Being a great friend, partner and leader
- Making an impact in your industry
- Making the world a better place
All of these are different missions. For the most part, when it comes to these missions, we play it small. We don’t look at what we’re doing in life, as being grand.
What mission are you on?
In order to become great at seeking feedback, we must overcome the fear of asking for feedback. We must make the mission we’re on more important than the fear we have to seek the feedback and remember these three things.
#1 Make Feedback About The Mission
When you make feedback about the mission, and the mission is something that you’re just dying to achieve it’s easier to ask for feedback. At the Simon Leadership Alliance, we’re dying to go out there and create great leaders and great teams, and when I’m focusing on my mission and I’m being driven by my mission, it makes it so much easier to ask for feedback.
One example of how we make feedback about the mission is at the end of each session, we ask our clients two questions.
- What did you like about this session?
- What could we have done better?
This is one way we are always getting feedback. That’s our way of getting feedback in the moment and tying feedback to the mission. Before we even get into how to ask for feedback, we need to wake up and connect to our mission. So what’s your mission? If your mission is bigger than the risk of embarrassment or fear of vulnerability, then you’re going to go out there and ask feedback for the mission that you’re on.
#2 Share Your Mission
When you go and get feedback, share your mission. For example, I would say to my girlfriend, “hey, I really want us to have a really great relationship with you, what could I do to be a better boyfriend or a partner?”
In the interest of my mission or our mission, what can I do? Or what could we do to get better?
I think that really helps frame how you ask for feedback instead of, “I need some advice.” Frame it in terms of this is the mission that you’re on. You’re on a mission to have a great partner, be a great team builder, a great teammate, a great boss, to create a great organization. So ask what can you do to help contribute to that mission that you’re on. .
#3 Grow Your Relationships
The final tip to remember when you’re afraid to seek feedback is remind yourself that this will grow your relationships. I think one of the reasons why people are so reluctant to give feedback is because it is a vulnerable move. It will enhance and deepen the relationships that you’re having with the feedback provider. And many times actually doesn’t enhance and deepen the relationship because people are so reluctant.
My experience in asking for feedback is that most people are reluctant to give it. I’ve asked about 60 people for feedback that I haven’t received. It could be me. But I think a lot of it is that people are reluctant to dive deeper into the relationship that they’re in. In fact, 60% of employees- and 72% of those under 30 want feedback on a daily or weekly basis, yet only 28% of people say they are receiving it.
They’re having the relationships in general to go reach that point where they’re kind of saying,
“Yeah, I really do want our relationship to get better.”
“I do want you to stop ignoring me.”
“Spend more time with me.”
By actually asking for feedback, you’re strengthening that relationship and, and people don’t want to go there, unfortunately. That’s why I think so many people are afraid to dive into feedback to ask for feedback. To give feedback is the most vulnerable act in building a relationship among two people.
Make the Mission Bigger Than the Fear
Seek feedback for a big mission, make it about the mission that you’re on, and create a space that allows people to be vulnerable so that you can grow your relationships.
- If I’m a team leader, and somebody leaves my organization, I want to know why that person is leaving, because my mission is to make a great team.
- If I’m in a relationship and someone leaves, I want to know why that’s happening. So next time I can have greater relationships.
- If I’m not, let’s say connecting with people in my organization with the volunteer work that I’m doing. Well, that volunteer work is so important, I want to know why it’s not making the impact that it’s that I wanted to make.
This is about impact. It’s about the depth of relationship. It is about really living a fulfilled life where you can actually take while you’re here on the planet, and take the people with you to get to that, to that Promised Land. And the only way you do it is by being vulnerable. Asking for feedback to make your mission in life so much more important.
So tell me in the comments, what mission are you on that is more important than the fear you have to face for seeking feedback? Are you afraid to seek feedback?
Strober, J. M. J. M. H. (2019, August 5). Fear of Feedback. Harvard Business Review. https://hbr.org/2003/04/fear-of-feedback
Unknown Author. Overcoming the fear of feedback. Impraise https://www.impraise.com/blog/overcoming-the-fear-of-feedback
Kalish, A. (2019, October 14). How to Ask for Feedback at Work and Look Good. The Muse https://www.themuse.com/advice/the-one-word-thatll-make-asking-for-honest-feedback-less-scary
Bregman, P. (2014, December 5). How to Ask for Feedback That Will Actually Help You. Harvard Business Review. https://hbr.org/2014/12/how-to-ask-for-feedback-that-will-actually-help-you