peopletalkingMost of the time when we talk about influence it is about giving; giving praise to others, serving your team, giving your best etc.

Today I’d like to focus on something that, as leaders, we need to TAKE.

If we want to grow sometimes we have to take critical feedback from others. Having the willingness to hear what we often don’t want to hear is crucial to our success.

Recently I was given some stinging critical feedback that exposed a problem that needed to be addressed. This feedback hurt. It hurt deep in my gut because it was totally counter to the vision I have for my business. I am cringing right now as I write this and think about how we failed in an area that is near and dear to my heart.

However, I am super grateful for this feedback. Getting it prompted action and gave me an opportunity to re-enforce my vision. It gave me perspective, and without the knowledge I gained from this feedback I’m certain more damage would have been done. It’s kind of like a leak in your roof that you don’t know about. If the roof is leaking in your attic you can’t repair it if you are unaware of it. Wouldn’t you be grateful if someone told you it was leaking? Then you can patch it up to minimize any more damage until you can make a permanent repair. We need people to tell us when our roof is leaking. We may not like to hear it but we should be grateful for it.

Here are a couple of lessons I learned about receiving critical feedback:

  1. Allow yourself to receive it.
    Don’t explain it away or dismiss it. Because of the sting often we will jerk back from receiving criticism. We’ll dismiss it or rationalize it away or even talk ourselves into believing it isn’t true. Just take it. Listen and do some further research if necessary, but just take it in.
  2. Act.
    Sometimes immediate action is necessary. Other times we may just need to file the information away for future use. We might just need the info to improve our perspective. But when action is required. Act.

I’m constantly reminded that leadership is not for the faint of heart and it’s not easy. It requires the strength to listen even when it’s hard.

The ability to take critical feedback and to act on it will help us get better.

How can you get better this week?