Tag Archives: Feedback

Self-Aware Leaders

IntrospectionAs a leader do you know your strengths and weaknesses?  Have you examined the things that have helped you get to this point and that have gotten in your way?  Most of us are well aware of the things we have done wrong over the years and we can name a few strengths, and yet to move ourselves and our teams forward we must be more self-aware.  Progress only happens when there is change and forward progress happens when the right changes are made.

To become more self-aware requires a commitment and consistent practice.  You have to be willing to take hard looks at yourself and solicit feedback from the people around you.  As well, this isn’t something that you do today and it’s good for life, you need to do it on a regular basis.  Timing will depend on how fast changes are happening in your world or on how fast you want to change your life.  When looking for quick change or when dealing with a situation that is in flux you need to evaluate your situation more often.  Otherwise, use the evaluations as course corrections to keep you moving in the right direction at the right pace.

Here are five steps to take to become more self-aware:

  1. Write down five strengths and how they have helped you succeed
  2. Write down five weaknesses and how they have slowed you
  3. Get feedback from at least five people around you, your boss, subordinates, peers
    • Ask them for five strengths
    • Ask them what they would like to see you do more often and do less often
    • Compare their assessments with your own, reflect on the differences
    • Using your goals determine what is helping and what is hindering your progress

Once you have determined what you want to address make plans to change your behavior.  Set goals and start small to gain traction.  As you get more comfortable with the new habits and behaviors you can take the time to look back and see how it’s working out.  If it’s moving you forward in the direction you want to go, keep up the good work.  Otherwise, make some new adjustments to get on track.  Doing this regularly will help you grow in the right areas and move you forward.

Another benefit of these five steps is that people will see you as more open and approachable.  Your credibility goes up when you seek feedback and then make changes based on what you learned.  Demonstrating your self-awareness, being open to feedback and changing will make it easier for you to drive change in your organization.  People will respect your thoughts on their development more when they see you doing the same thing.  Change is easier when a leader is willing to change first.  Change starts with self-awareness of what must change.

What steps do you take to evaluate yourself?


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Filed under Change Management, Leadership

Feedback or Criticism

Do you give feedback or criticism?  When you see something that needs to be corrected in someone’s actions or performance how do you approach the topic?  The difference is in the intent of the information you share.  If focused on improving its feedback.  When focused on proving what was wrong its criticism.

Feedback is:

  1. Focused on improving performance or behavior
  2. Seeks to prevent repeat issues
  3. Based on actions observed
  4. Solution centered
  5. Supportive in delivery

Criticism is:

  1. Focused on highlighting errors
  2. Seeks to showcase mistakes
  3. Based on personal observations
  4. Cause centered
  5. Demeaning in delivery

There is a fine line at times between these two types of corrective conversations.  Bosses will say they are giving feedback but the message is about what you did wrong, that’s criticism.  Feedback will inspire people to find better ways to act in the future while criticism will cause people to act out of fear.   No one wants to be “yelled” at when they make a mistake and no matter how its delivered criticism feels like you are being reprimanded.  

Stay focused on how to do better next time and the conversation will feel more positive and have longer lasting results.

For effective feedback:

  1. Seek to understand why the specific action was taken
  2. Look for solutions
  3. Ask how it could be done differently
  4. Use the phrase “I observed…” to point out behavior
  5. Explain the impact of the actions

Providing true feedback instead of criticizing your team will help you build a group who strives to always do better and go beyond expectations.

What is your best tip for giving feedback when something has gone wrong?

photo from iStockphoto.com

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Filed under Change Management, Leadership, Team Building