How to Give the Best Feedback | 120 Seconds to Better Leadership

What’s on my mind this week is giving 360 feedback. A big part of my job is gathering feedback about executives to figure out where are they really strong in their role, what performance gaps are there, and helping to access those gaps and close them through coaching. And sometimes they’re not.

Accept Negative Feedback 

The thing about feedback is people don’t like to receive it. I don’t always, either, unless it’s good. That’s true for most of us, I think. But here’s the really important part: accept the negative feedback. Because even if it’s not factually correct, even if people have you wrong, it’s still how people see you. So, if the feedback is negative, you still need to work on the perception issue, even if those perceptions are wrong.

Don’t Dwell on the Negative

I spend way too much time trying to help executives accept feedback that they don’t like. And the best advice I can give is, when you get that feedback, accept it as people’s perceptions, and consider it a perception problem. Do what you can to work toward changing that perception, if you don’t like what that perception is. And don’t dwell too much on the negative.

For most people, the report is in two halves, we try to keep it pretty even. And they want to rush through the positive, and then they want to go to the negative, and then they want to dwell on that. So, most of our characteristics are going to show up as strengths and weaknesses depending on if we’re over- or under-applying them.

Find the Balance

Try to take a balanced approach in accepting the really awesome things people have to say about you, while acknowledging and being willing to accept and work on the things that aren’t.