When it comes to feedback I face an inner struggle. I know it's character building and crucial for my personal growth, yet a large part of me doesn't want to hear it. I shy from wanting to know where I could improve.
For many of us feedback causes us to go into defensive mode, fight-or-flight. That's because we see feedback as dangerous. But Henry Cloud (Boundaries for Leaders) suggests that if we see it as a gift, we will hunger for more. He says that 'to be the best you can be, you must develop a hunger for feedback. Good character welcomes feedback and foolish character fights it off'.
In order to grow and change we need to seek out feedback, to make it a normal part of the way we operate. I like what Marshall Goldsmith advises in his book 'What got you here won't get you there'. He suggests that we should solicit advice rather than criticism, which is directed towards the future rather than obsessed with the past. Ask questions like "how can I do better?" Or "how can I be a better leader (or team member) of this group?"
The challenge for me personally is to see feedback as one of the best gifts I can receive. To not become defensive, blame others or move into denial, but rather to embrace it and put it to good use for my own growth and the good of the team.
Question to Ponder:- What is your appetite for feedback? Do you get defensive or are you receptive when you receive feedback?