How to get feedback as a leader? 5 Steps to get more of it.

The leader looked at me after an hour of talking through their development plan and asked one last question – “How do I get feedback from my people about how I am doing?

I pondered some options for a few moments and then delivered the answer – ASK.

It is not that simple, and it is that simple.  Talent management is about great conversations.  Within a great conversation are some key questions and the ability to listen to the answer.  What made it simpler for this leader is their demonstrated commitment to weekly one one one time with each leader on their team.

Here are the 5 steps to having a good ASK: (if you do not have regular one on one time with each leader individually – make that a priority – here is a template)

  1. At the end of each one on one ask the question “What can I be doing more of / less of to make your life easier / make your team more productive / etc.?”
  2. Next time you have a team meeting with your group, share with them – I want more feedback from you as a team on how I am doing/being perceived as a leader, which is one reason that you are asking the question.  So if there is something you all want me to hear, feel free to collaborate and all give me the same answer – I promise to listen. (smile) I also ask for patience because change takes time (21 days to a new habit) and I may need some help.
  3. Listen – for 3-6 months.  It might take them that long for them to get comfortable answering the question.
  4. Always – say thank you.  Never – give an instant excuse.  Always – commit to an action plan (even if it is just self observation on your part and commitment to talk about it at the next one on one).
  5. Keep track of their answers over time, and make a habit out of looking at the list occassionally to see which answers keep popping up, which ones have disappeared, and how ‘risky’ the criticism is.  Risky answers are things that hurt a little, which means that your people are trusting you more and more.

Feedback is hard to give and to get, and by making a practice of asking, listening, and acting – momentum towards the right outcome will happen.