Soliciting and Using Feedback

By Michele Vitti, MA, Adjunct Faculty in the Organizational and Leadership Psychology Department October 05, 2015

Michele Vitti, MA, Adjunct Faculty in the Organizational and Leadership Psychology Department

It’s really hard to see ourselves as others see us, and this can be a serious liability for individuals such as leaders, whose effectiveness depends on engaging and motivating others. For persons in leadership positions, soliciting honest feedback can be a very effective way of becoming aware of blind spots and becoming a better leader. This requires creating an organizational culture that encourages and values honest feedback and shows its members how to give it.

Tips for Leaders 

  • Initiate a 360 assessment process. In order to create an organizational culture that encourages candid feedback, people need to understand how to give and get helpful feedback. A 360 process solicits feedback from others around the leader. 
  • When giving feedback, speak from your own experience and be specific about the affects you see from the behavior you are pointing out. 
  • When getting feedback from a multi-rater process such as a 360 assessment, try to take an objective, scientific stance to analyzing the results. Don’t agree or disagree too quickly. Instead, ask yourself “In what circumstances might this be true?” 
  • Keep in mind that research supports that the best leaders listen ten times more than you speak. 
  • Try to get a bird’s eye view of the context and try to see how the additional information can help you make the change you want as a leader. 

Finally, for the person receiving the feedback, there is usually only one response: thank you.