Feedback is the source for all learning and improvement. Without feedback, you cannot become better. Some of the people that I spoke to shared that getting feedback involved a lot of research and preparation.
My view is that feedback is a simple process which revolves around these three questions:
1. What am I doing well?
2. What can I do better?
3. Anything else that you would like to share about me or my work?
Getting answers for these three questions gives you a lot more perspective on yourself rather than a series of Likert-scaled questions!
I hear a cry from somewhere that this is not objective. Yes, it is not. Which is why, it is even better! Having a few numbers in questionnaires don’t make them objective!
If you want to get feedback as a leader from your team, peers or supervisors, I recommend the following four step process, which I have personally used and have used with leaders that I coach.
Four Step Feedback Process
Step 1 – Set the context
People usually don’t want to say anything negative about you – they want to keep the relationship going. So, share that you are interested in receiving feedback to help you become a better leader. Be open about answering any questions that they have. Assure them that their honest responses are welcome and appreciated.
Step 2 – Get the feedback
Print out these three questions and give it to the respondents to answer (to make it easy, I put together a printable template for you to download here). Ask them to not share their names and if you want to make it even more anonymous, keep a drop box near your desk or in your room for them to drop their feedback.
If you and the respondents would be comfortable with online tools, use a survey tool such as Survey Monkey, Google Forms, Survey Gizmo or any other survey tool available. Remember that these survey tools should allow you to get responses anonymously (the three tools mentioned above do help you get anonymous feedback).
Step 3 – Summarize the feedback and share your action plan
Once you receive all the feedback, summarize the top 5 things that you are dong well and the top 5 areas where you can do better, as perceived by the respondents. Call for a feedback summary meeting where you share these areas along with your action plan to become a better leader.
If these are areas where your actions or words have been incorrectly perceived, set the record straight during this meeting.
Step 4 – Implement the action plan and get feedback again
An action plan without action is a disaster. So, act on your plan and get feedback again, to check if the perception has changed.
With these quick four steps and short three questions, you should be able to get better feedback and be on your way to lead better!