Get off your pedestal! Are you open to receiving feedback?

Oliver's body language, back towards me, ears back, and eyes closed (caught in window reflection!) tell a story. What story are you telling with your body language?
Oliver is up on his pedestal: his body language — facing away, ears back, and eyes closed (caught in window reflection!) — tell a story. What story are you telling with your body language, words, and actions?

Most managers say that are open to feedback. And sometimes that’s true. But you know as well as I do, managers are often negligent in soliciting feedback, or they do things that indicate they aren’t open to it even if they say they are. Even managers with honorable intentions can mess this up. 

I believe managers understand the value of feedback and wouldn’t argue with the fact that they should encourage it. It’s just that I think many managers fall short of getting the degree of input that they think that do. And when they do get it, they don’t embrace it as actively as they should. Time after time, they rationalize why the feedback isn’t valid. They say the employee doesn’t have all the information (could be true, but that impacts how a person feels so you need to deal with that). Or that the employee isn’t seasoned enough, or smart enough, or you-fill-in-the-blank, because there are tons of excuses that managers use to discount the feedback. In the end, if a manager is belittling the feedback, they are destroying the relationship, which will ooze out in ways that an employee will always find out, even if the words are left unspoken. 

Cats can provide that familiar image of what I frequently see with managers. First, most cats have body language that lets you know that they are quite independent and really could care less about your opinion. They come to you when they want something (like when you forget to fill the breakfast bowl), not when they want your input on what cat toy they should play with. And heaven forbid when you do make a suggestion: they have a look that says: “What? Are you talking to me? Don’t bother. I’m busy.”

I'm going to be in the dog house (with my husband) for taking the time to snap this picture instead of shooing off the table -- a place he definitely knows is forbidden. Obviously, he doesn't want my input on the situation.
I’m going to be in the dog house with my husband for taking the time to snap this picture instead of shooing Oliver off the table — a place he definitely knows is forbidden. Obviously, he isn’t open to my input on the situation!

Don’t get me wrong. I adore our cats, Oliver and Dodger. They have wonderful personalities that provide much entertainment and companionship (on their terms). But my husband and I both know that making us happy is not exactly their top priority.

In the workplace, that kind of solitary mentality will kill a team. 

One of the best ways to ensure that you don’t get catty (couldn’t resist that one), is to find a structured way to elicit feedback from those you work with. A ‘360’ tool will do just that, allowing you to get input from your manager, direct reports, and peers, and compare it to your own views of your competencies. This gives you a full circle, or 360 degree view, of how all the various groups see your effectiveness.

Our CheckPoint 360 Feedback Survey serves as that platform. It’s a simple way to open the door to communication, providing a level of insight that you likely haven’t had before.

I believe it’s one of the most effective ways for a manager to illustrate that she is open to receiving feedback. Anyone who resists a 360 initiative is signaling that they don’t value input from others: big red flags of cattiness and too much dogma. (I couldn’t resist that, either.)

If you’re interested to learn how you can be a role model for receiving feedback, please join us on our upcoming FREE Webinar entitled “Grow Your Own Leaders: Using Assessment-Based Coaching for Sustainable Leadership Development.” Click here for details and registration; you will leave with ideas for how to implement this important professional development process in your organization.

Show your colleagues you are ready to receive feedback. We all know it’s the right thing to do, let’s prove that it actually happens in your workplace.

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