Most leaders who want to get promoted have received feedback along the way in their career, but they don’t know what to do with it. For example, if a peer or stakeholder tells them they talk too much in meetings, they may not know if it is the quality of their contribution that needs work or that they weigh in on too many topics, which makes them seem scattered and unfocused.
Reading feedback for improvement
It’s important to really probe and learn what the feedback means. Time to dig in to get more examples, then determine what success looks like. Pay close attention to your progress and check back in after a few weeks/months with those who gave you the feedback. Finally, stay accountable to yourself to improve. Sounds easy? It’s not. A more likely scenario is the leader does not know where to start their improvement process. They have trouble setting goals, or those goals will be surface level, lacking meaning. In the above example, “stop talking” or “talk less” will be the goal. Because they have not dug deep into what is motivating them to speak, the surface-level fix won’t last. It will only work a few times and they will have missed a chance to really change and grow.
Digging for reflection examples:
- What am I trying to accomplish by over contributing in meetings?
- Is everything important? Am I focusing on the right things?
- If someone else owns the work on a project, do I really need to weigh in, unless that work affects me and my team?
- Who do I want to be in this situation? How do I want to come across?
- Am I focusing on the minor or major things?
- What am I aware of (with me) while this is happening?
- Should I do more homework before the meetings, getting questions answered from others?
- Am I trying too hard? Who am I trying to impress? Is it myself? Do I think I must talk and contribute on every topic? What habits don’t serve me anymore?
- If I verbally process, what can I do differently?
- Who in the organization does a good job at this skill? How can I learn from that person/role model that person?
- What does success look like when I have achieved this goal? How will I know I have improved?
The self-reflective leader
If you want rich insights, ask yourself those questions. Practice self- reflection. It takes discipline, writing and thinking. The reward is you will have new ways of thinking and acting upon the feedback.
Leaders who practice weekly self- reflection improve and accelerate faster than their counterparts.
Try it today. It really works.