In the middle of my first group project in business school, the phone rang.
Two members of my group were calling, concerned about our project.
I could tell they were uncomfortable about something and eventually I figured out it had to do with my portion of the work. I’d totally missed on what we were trying to do.
It hadn’t been for lack of effort, and I definitely wanted to do a good job, but I’d never done what I’d been tasked to do—pulling together market research and data and illustrating it in a certain way. Unknowingly, I’d done it wrong.
But instead of getting embarrassed or defensive, I asked for feedback.
“Don’t hold back,” I told my groupmates. “Tell me what you’re thinking.”
That broke the barrier for them, and they were able to give me the honest feedback I needed to make the corrections and get our group’s project back on track.
When you’re open to feedback, the benefits are endless. In my case, it allowed me to learn a new skill, and I got better at doing market research in the process.
More importantly, though, it opened the lines of communication within our group. We were able to be honest with each other, which deepened our relationships, and helped us not only in that project, but in future projects, too.
Getting feedback, especially if it’s critical, is always tough, but I want to encourage you to see feedback as an opportunity for growth.
In my basketball career, the best players were always the ones who sought out feedback. They were on a journey to seek advice, hold themselves accountable and set a good example for the rest of the team. Being open to critique was their way to achieve those things.
I’ve seen this in the corporate world, too. I worked with a consulting group who gave presentations, and at the end of every presentation, they had a practice where they would huddle for 20 minutes to talk about how it went. The leader of the group, who either gave the keynote or opened the presentation, would always be the first one saying, “Ok, give it to me.” He wanted the group to criticize him, knowing that it was the best way for him—and the group—to get better.
So, how open are you when it comes to feedback? Do you resist or resent it, or do you see it as an opportunity for growth?
If you’ve ever struggled to receive feedback, consider these two pieces of advice I got from a former basketball coach of mine. They really helped to put feedback in perspective for me.
- Focus on the message, not the delivery.
Sometimes feedback can feel really personal. However, don’t get so caught up in how the message is delivered that you miss the message itself. The growth is in the message.
- Don’t worry when you’re getting feedback—worry when you’re not.
If you’re getting feedback, whether it’s a coach yelling at you or your boss critiquing your work, take it as a sign they think you have potential to be a better performer. That’s a good thing! Worry more when the feedback stops.
Feedback is essential for growth, so become a person who’s known for being able to accept it. Not only will it improve your relationships, but the growth you’ll achieve in the process is far more than what you’d be able to accomplish on your own.
I want to hear from you!
Please leave a comment below and let me know…
What’s the best piece of feedback you’ve ever received?