Why you should seek feedback, even if the truth is uncomfortable

Feedback is essential to becoming a better manager. That’s why you should seek feedback, even if the truth is uncomfortable.

Becoming a better manager is hard. Becoming a better person is hard. It requires constant self-discipline and self-improvement. Both are hard.

So, when I get asked “how do I become a better manager?” (which I get asked pretty much every day), I always tell people to become more self-disciplined and do what needs to be done, and to improve themselves relentlessly. This naturally leads to the next question.

“How do I know where and what to improve?”

It’s a simple answer. Seek feedback.

You can gather feedback from observing people, studying your results, seeing how people respond to you and many other clues in our everyday work environment. All information for improvement.

But I also suggest you just ask people.

It can be daunting to ask someone for feedback. You may not really want to hear the response. But it’s information. Information you can use to improve. Information you can use to get better.

But be careful.

Not all feedback is accurate. The source of the feedback may hold little authority or credibility to you. You may also struggle to get a direct answer from someone under your direct management – you are their line manager after all.

So study the feedback and assess it’s importance and relevance.

I suggest asking for feedback from those you line manage, those you work with and those you report to. And when you get feedback, I think it prudent to apply Neil Gaiman’s philosophy on feedback.

“When people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong.”


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