What do you think when I say the word feedback?

Anyone cringe? Fear that you might be told something you won’t like?  Know it’s a good thing, but dislike it?  Maybe you love it.

In the majority of cases people have some sense of trepidation when considering both receiving and giving feedback.  The reason being that our brains are wired to a natural negativity bias. Once upon a time this bias was a key element in our survival, but these days this bias can actually work against us. Even when people receive mostly positive feedback they still tend to focus on the negative.  Negative feedback, or as I like to call it constructive feedback, can cause a feeling of rejection which creates tension between our need for fitting in and our desire to grow and develop.

We are not upset by things, but rather by the view we take of them – Epictetus

Changing the way we view feedback

People with a rigid mindset feel they are just the way they are because they are!  You would have heard people say things like “don’t try to change me”, or “just accept me as I am.”   Really when you come to think about it, how useful are these comments when in a leadership role?  As a matter of fact, how useful are they in general?  I’ll leave you to ponder the answer to this.

For some people their response is quite positive and these are people with an open mindset.  They tend to view their skills, behaviour and thinking as adaptable and flexible.  They see feedback as an opportunity to grow, develop and improve what they do.  They seek out feedback and are usually good at giving it as well.

I’m all for adapting and changing my behaviour where it is appropriate, but we don’t want to be that malleable that we lose the core of who we are.  This brings me to the question about how to  know which feedback to embrace and which to leave be.

Something I learned many years ago was to view feedback as a gift.  I worked in a large sales organisation where feedback was given virtually on a weekly basis.  My performance was under constant scrutiny from my direct reports, peers and managers.

At times I felt overwhelmed by the constant feedback so I set up some rules on how to manage it.  I began to look for threads of commonality rather than each piece of information.  I’d make connections and look for those areas that were consistent, both the positive and negative.

Let me tell you a story about “The Green Tail”

If one person tells you that you have a green tail, you might think they are stupid.

If three people tell you that you have a green tail, then you might think it’s a conspiracy.

But if seven people tell you that you have a green tail, you might want to turn around and have a look.

Therefore if I got a strong thread of feedback for instance seven people telling me, I’d take it on board and make changes.  This worked for me back then and continues to do so today.

Today in my coaching business I use a number of feedback tools.  I use 360 feedback tools LSI, TLC, DiSC and EQi 360.

 

A couple of the most popular are:

 

LSI (Lifestyle Inventory) by Human Synergistics

The LSI profile measures your thinking and behaviours against 12 key leadership competencies.

LSI 1 produces feedback on how you see yourself and the relationship you have with yourself.

Through your responses to 240 inventory items, LSI 1 distinguishes and measures 12 key thinking patterns, or styles, that are either effective or ineffective. These styles represent specific ways in which we choose to think about ourselves and influence our behaviour in all areas of life.

LSI 2 produces feedback from others in response to the same 240 questions.  This gives you the opportunity to see if your behaviour is received as intended.  It also provides you with a clear insight as to how you are perceived and highlights the areas where your self-concept is aligned with your raters concept and vice versa.

Together we look for threads of consistent feedback, and create a plan to move you towards your ideal leadership style.

TLC – The Leadership Circle Profile measures patterns of action with habits of thought. It measures your creative competencies as your reactive tendencies against 29 leadership competencies summarised into 8 key areas.

 

It reveals the relationship between patterns of action and internal assumptions that drive behaviour, identifying the gifts that lie under the reactive behaviours to give insight as to why you we do what we do.

Both instruments are hugely effective in providing useful feedback to develop & hone one’s leadership skills. If you are considering leadership assessments for yourself or your team then feel free to phone or email and I’m happy to forward sample reports.