“If someone calls you an ass, you can ignore them. If three people call you an ass, you better start looking for a saddle.” This timeless Yiddish saying is a good lesson for us all, that is, when do we pay attention to the feedback we receive from others?
The answer, unfortunately, is, it depends. Is the feedback behavioral? Is it well timed? Does it characterize what happened versus what people meant or hoped to do? If the answer is yes to these questions, then it is behavioral and more likely helpful. If not, well one can hope the sender feels better.
The ability to seek and receive feedback is considered by many to be a critical success factor for leaders at all levels. For many of us, the struggle we face is about narrowing the gap between our intention and the impact our actions have. Feedback is the most reliable source of data on the impact we have. Delivered behaviorally, it can narrow the gap.
So with such promise – why doesn’t it happen more often? The number one reason? It ‘s not asked for as often as we’d like. Second reason? When done poorly it discourages subsequent efforts.
So what can we do?
Model – Ask for feedback: – to what is said and how it landed.
Listen – Don’t defend or explain what you did or rationalize how it affected others.
Appreciate – Feedback is a gift. Saying thank you will only increase the amount you get.
So the choice is yours – Want it? Ask for it. If not? Maybe a saddle would be a good idea…….