Get feedback from your team members and quickly put it to work
Once you start giving feedback on a regular basis, you will start getting it, too. When you suggest that your employees could do something better, it’s a natural human reaction that they will have advice for you.
Ask every time you give it.
You can easily build receiving feedback into your own process for giving feedback! After you’ve provided feedback and agreed on next steps, ask your employees how you can better support them in accomplishing their goals. When you first ask how you can do a better job at leading them, they may seem a little surprised and confused, but they will probably have a mental list ready.
Why is asking for two-way feedback so important?
When you ask people to do things differently, you are starting a whole new conversation and relationship. Since you are the one asking for change, your team members want you to have a role in any change they take on. Put yourself in their shoes. If your boss started giving you feedback about a challenging part of your job, wouldn’t you have something to ask of your boss?
Asking for feedback soothes your team member’s brain.
The fact that you are inviting two-way feedback puts you on a peer, or team-member level with the other person involved. This equality sends a soothing signal to the employee’s brain that you can be trusted to ask them to relate to you on a personal level. Stirring up feelings of equality and camaraderie has an extremely positive effect on their openness to your feedback. When you evoke a feeling of connectedness, signaled by your own authentic emotions, both of you release the same positive brain chemicals that you would when you hang out with close friends, hold a baby, or fall in love.
In contrast, one-way boss-to-subordinate feedback enforces the hierarchical relationship, and the employee feels more guarded and sans control. Their fight-or-flight brain response, with its requisite surge of stress hormones shooting from the emotional brain, clouds their thinking abilities.
Asking for employees’ feedback also conveys a sense of fairness and transparency, which has a very positive result. As David Rock explains in his article “Managing with the Brain in Mind,” this lights up the same part of the brain that is affected by eating chocolate.
Fostering the trust that comes from your willingness to sit down “on the same side of the table” and hearing their feedback results in a huge step toward establishing a learning relationship and motivating everyone to sign up for everyday feedback.
You are both spinning faster feedback loops.
The other great thing about encouraging two-way feedback is that both you and your team member are now spinning your feedback loops faster and faster. As you make adjustments based on new information, you score exciting wins that prompt you to seek even more information. Both of you get hooked. This has an exponentially powerful effect. As you exchange feedback with each of your team members, everyone takes it seriously, it gets easier, and feedback gets more accurate. This is truly a virtuous cycle!