This past week I reconnected with a woman in an organization I partner with frequently. She is relatively new to her job and wants to propel the institution forward in a big way. She has a dream and a vision but limited resources. This is how the conversation went:
Her question to me: “ I have a potential client for you to work with but I need to know immediately if you are available on those dates.”
To which I responded: “ I am available but have a question about the program.”
Her response: “That’s not possible to do. Unfortunately I need an answer now.”
In deciding how to handle this request, I decided to be honest with her about how I was feeling about the organization she represented.
“Although I have worked with your firm for many years I am feeling that things are different. Something has changed.”
She could have left it at that but decided to listen earnestly to my honest feedback and reached out to set up a time for me to visit with her at the new location. She sensed she needed to hear the truth.
Have you ever been afraid to receive information that may challenge what you are working on or how you are tackling a situation?
Have you ever shut down a conversation where someone on your team was sharing a perspective that felt threatening to you but may have contained some truthful comments?
Here are five reasons how honest feedback fuels leaders to succeed:
1. THE TRUTH STEERS US IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION
Honest feedback will always be our friend and help us keep on the right path as long as it is shared in a respectful way. Sometimes leaders get so focused on meeting a deadline or accomplishing a task that they forget the purpose of what they are doing. I think this may have happened to the woman I spoke about earlier. She let the rules take over without thinking about what her organization was all about.
2. THE TRUTH FORTIFIES OUR CHARACTER
When we are forced to be patient and understanding we are building our leadership character. Honest feedback tests our ability to reach deep inside of ourselves and carefully analyze why we are performing in a certain way. It begs us to step back and breathe as we take stock in what type of leader we want to be.
3. THE TRUTH BUILDS TRUST WITH OTHERS
One of the greatest benefits of hearing the truth from somebody we work with is developing bonds and deeper connections.
- Honest feedback helps leaders become stronger listeners
- Honest feedback creates meaningful dialogue with others
- Honest feedback enables us to see the valuable contributions of the people around us
- Honest feedback empowers us to work harder with people with different viewpoints from our own
4. THE TRUTH DEVELOPS OUR CREDIBILITY
When leaders show colleagues, collaborators and bosses that we welcome honest feedback we build our credibility. Our willingness to be thoughtful about information being shared shows others that we value their suggestions and opinions. When we follow through by including everyone’s contributions we are doing what we say we will do. That results in us becoming more approachable and impactful leaders.
5. THE TRUTH OPENS UP DOORS
If we welcome honest feedback we will be opening our doors wider to more opportunities and deeper connections with everyone we work with. We will be showing others that their input is critical to our leadership success.
How has honest feedback empowered you to be a stronger leader?