Navigating Leadership, Innovation, and Empowerment in the Digital Age

Today, we’re going to chat about something very near and dear to my cold, corporate heart: feedback. This isn’t about giving feedback to your team. Oh, no. It’s about you, the big boss, rolling up your sleeves and begging them for feedback. Shocking, I know.

We’ve all seen the phrase “feedback is a gift” on some motivational office poster. Well, it’s not a gift if it’s wrapped in rainbow-colored avoidance and topped with a big, shiny bow of insincerity. Here’s the brutal truth: If you genuinely want to improve and get your team talking, YOU must slog through the murky depths of vulnerability. Why? Because accurate, honest feedback isn’t just going to walk up to your executive desk and present itself.

You’ve got to dive headfirst into the five P’s: Probe, Paraphrase, Praise, Ponder, and Perform.

1. Probe: The Feedback Detective

Time to face facts. Your team sees giving you negative feedback as akin to volunteering to jump into a pit full of snakes. Why? It’s a gamble. Best case, you listen and change for the better. Worst case, you morph into a vindictive nightmare who can impact their career growth. Who would risk those odds? You’ve got to coax the feedback out of them like a skittish kitten from under a sofa.

Much like a detective seeking clues, you must actively probe for feedback. Encourage your team to reveal their hidden thoughts about you.

Of course, you can’t just say, “Feel free to drop feedback on my desk any time!” Trust me, they won’t. So, carve out some dedicated feedback time in every meeting.  Better yet, document their thoughts on real time in some shared document.

Also, please burn those post-meeting surveys. They’re about as useful as a chocolate teapot. Seriously.

2. Paraphrase: The Feedback Translator

Here’s the thing: humans like to feel heard. Mind-blowing, I know. That means you can’t just let their feedback drift in one ear and out the other. You’ve got to show them that you get it. 

Once you have their feedback, it’s time to paraphrase. Reiterate what they’ve shared in your own words, just to confirm you’ve got it right. This shows your team you’re actively listening and values their input.

Try something like, “So what you’re saying is…” and then paraphrase their feedback. Think of yourself as a human echo. Once you’ve nailed their sentiment, dig a little deeper with, “There’s more. Spill it.” Advanced bosses can also channel their inner empath and take a stab at the emotions behind the feedback. 

3. Praise: The Feedback Connoisseur

When the feedback starts pouring in, don’t get defensive. Instead, show your appreciation by praising them for their honesty. A simple “thank you” can work wonders and foster a culture of open communication.

Don’t start defending yourself or launching counterattacks. Swallow your pride and say, “Thank you.”

4. Ponder: The Feedback Curator

Here’s where you ponder over the feedback. You can either accept it or reject it, but the choice is yours. Either way, it’s essential to communicate your decision to your team transparently and explain your reasoning.

It’s not a dictator’s rule, so you’re allowed to disagree. If you don’t accept it, explain why. But if you do accept it, it’s time for the grand finale.

5. Perform: The Feedback Closer

Finally, perform. Transform the accepted feedback into actionable items. Implement these changes, stick to a timeline, and let your team know about it. By closing the feedback loop, you’ll demonstrate your commitment to improvement, thereby winning your team’s trust.

And remember, when it comes to feedback, transparency is key. Broadcast it far and wide. Make sure your team knows that you’re all ears and open to criticism. It’s a scary world out there, bosses. But together, we can make it a little less frightening…one brutally honest piece of feedback at a time

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