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Feedback Magnets

It’s no co-incidence that organisms and organisations share similar names.

Both rely on their environment to provide feedback that allows for dynamic adaptation to changing conditions, and support growth, development, and survival.

Without feedback, organisms would be unable to maintain the stability and flexibility needed to thrive in their environments. And it’s the same for organisations.

Feedback is essential.

Feedback is a three way street – we need to both give it, to receive it AND to ask for it.

The most transformational leaders become feedback magnets.

Becoming a feedback magnet is a skill worth honing, especially when a leaders is comfortable with vulnerability, and has the courage to ask for feedback from people at all levels of their organisation.

A key differentiator for these leaders is that their ego doesn’t get in their way.

They’re curious and open to receiving the information they receive: the good, the bad and the ugly!

With a high level of self-awareness, they recognise early on that the conversation could be triggering, so they monitor their body language and avoid becoming defensive.

They stay open for connection, even when they’re hearing hard things, or when their own perspective on the situation is very different. 

They tap into well practised skills of staying curious, asking another question, slowing their breath (and having a longer exhale), slowing down the conversation or requesting to take a break and circle back to the conversation at a later date.

The human brain is wired for ‘warning’, with a powerful radar to detect threat and keep us safe.

It takes effort to over-ride this instinct, and let go of our ‘armor’, the ways we self-protect so we can avoid feeling the uncomfortable physiology of vulnerability.

Are you able to recognise defensiveness in yourself when you’re receiving feedback?

Here are some questions to reflect on:

  • Remember a time when you received some difficult feedback. What physical symptom clued you in that you were becoming defensive? Ie. You folded your arms. You put your hands in your pockets?
  • What thoughts were going through your mind? About yourself? About the person giving you the feedback?
  • What emotions did you recognise in yourself? Ie. Anxiety, frustration, anger, disappointment…
  • What did you do to stay open for connection?
  • Leaning into vulnerability and looking for ways to grow and develop as a leader, what was your key insight from the conversation?
  • What are you going to commit to going forward to stretch yourself in this area?

Cheers  Alison