So What? Ask for More Feedback

In my 20s, I wanted to be somebody. I needed your approval. I said yes when I wanted to say no. Oh, the time and energy I wasted hoping you liked me or thought I was smart.

In my 30s, I realized I was somebody. I was trying to figure out what I wanted and what I was “allowed” to have.

Now in my 40s, I trust my gut. I surround myself with smart people. I ask for help when I need it. I’m better at saying thank you and I’m sorry.

I know you’re judging me now. You’ve decided whether I’m weak or strong. Smart or silly. It’s okay. We are human. We can’t help it.

When you are faced with a tough decision at work, ask for input from the smart people in your life if you have time, do what you believe to be right, and move on. Some people will be thrilled with your call. Others will think it’s the stupidest idea ever. You can’t win. Stop trying.

If you look hard enough, you always can find someone who thinks your decision was ill-advised. Or you’re incompetent.

But you’re not.

Part of my realization came from being a trainer. Think about it… in what other profession do people give you written feedback on how you do your job every day. Those so-called smile sheets or feedback forms at the end of a training may contain rave reviews that are rewarding to know I’m helping people, important constructive feedback, or rude and totally unreasonable comments.

It’s like feedback bootcamp.

Yet those forms are helpful on so many levels.

Whatever you do for a living, it’s important to keep asking for feedback. I talk to my MBA students about the courses I teach after they graduate (In fact, I’m editing an assignment handout for next year’s class based on a conversation on last Friday). I’ll keep reading those feedback forms. I’ll ask clients for their thoughts on my work.

It ain’t easy, but it’s worth it. Talk to your team. Grow from it. Lead from it.

Who are you going to ask for honest feedback this week?



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