In our quest to grow, we often find the same types of situations repeating themselves in our life. We sense that something is off, that there’s something about how we’re showing up that keeps drawing this theme, but we can’t get enough “fidelity” on the pattern to get traction.
We need feedback and reflection from our peers (and, of course, our manager if we have one) to see ourselves more clearly. If we wait for that feedback to come, it will, eventually, but most likely in a less-than-pleasant form. By being proactive we do ourselves a favor and minimize the natural tendency to get defensive by claiming the process of growth for ourselves.
When you’re ready to ask one of your colleagues for feedback, be specific: By narrowing your questions and giving your listener clear guidance on what you want back from them, you’ll send a clear signal that you genuinely want their help.
Here are a few questions you can try with your colleagues to elicit some career-changing feedback (try one a week with a different person for the next seven weeks):
- What is one habit I have around communication that, if I broke, would make life easier for my teammates?
- When it comes to our company values, which one would you say I am best at embodying? Which is the one you see me struggle with?
- If I could change one thing about how I show up to my work day-to-day what would it be?
- Is there a specific topic that you’ve found is hard to give me feedback about, or where I get defensive when you try to bring it up?
- What is a strength I have that I don’t fully own and lean into?
- What is a strength I have that I over-rely on?
- If I were to stretch out of what you see as my comfort zone, what might that do for me as a professional?
Learning how to receive challenging or self-image confronting feedback might be the highest value life skill there is.
It starts by asking for it.
After twenty years of not being able to decide whether he was a business executive or a personal growth teacher, Jonathan stopped trying to figure it out. He’s the author of the award-winning Good Authority and the CEO at Refound, a leadership training firm that designs skills-training programs that help people take personal ownership of their work. He’s madly in love with his wife, tries not to spoil his daughters, and will never give up on the New York Knicks. Jonathan is an experienced CEO and people manager and has thrown his heart, mind, and soul into more than a few culture change projects. He lives in Encinitas, California. For more information visit www.refound.com.