Fast Company Article: Feedback leads to more feedback. Here’s why that’s a good thing for leaders
A funny thing about providing feedback—once you start providing your thoughts to others, you will begin receiving their thoughts on you. It’s a natural human reaction that when you suggest someone can do something better, they will have something for you, as well.
When you first ask for others’ feedback in a one-on-one or group meeting, they may at first seem a little surprised and confused. But nevertheless, a list of impressions will pop up in their mind, even if a few they are not entirely comfortable sharing. Humans innately know this; all of us are full-time observers of other people we work with.
Below are some of the reasons to share open feedback that can benefit yourself and others.
UNSTATED FEEDBACK CAN BOTTLE UP OVER TIME
When you can intuit others are thinking things about you, but don’t know their specific thoughts, your mind can fearfully fill up like Greek mythology’s Pandora’s box, with self-perceived weaknesses, incompetencies, and other negativity. We remember incidents when someone sounded impatient or dissatisfied and how we may not be measuring up as a leader, coach, or supporter. Basically, we don’t know what’s swimming around another person’s mind, but we may think to ourselves that Pandora’s box must be filled with bad things.
You’ve been doing a good job of getting your team members used to frequent feedback. They even like it now, seeing how helpful it is to their success. Now it’s your turn to get used to it, even though you may have been avoiding it. Seldom are people immune from the very human emotion of fear of the unknown, followed by a fight-or-flight response from language that feels threatening.