Recently, I applied for a promotion within my current employer and, honestly, I didn’t (and still don’t) think I was ready for that position. I have things to work on my current position, even though I think I’m fairly good at my job. So, the main purpose of going through the application process for me was to get feedback from my superiors on what more I needed to do to better prepare myself for the next step. And, as predicted, I didn’t get the position, but I got some good feedback. My favorite one was self-awareness and getting guidance from the people that work for me.
Look back in order to go forward
Being self-aware that I need things to work on has hardly ever been an issue for me, personally, but to receive guidance from people who are under you is a huge shift in my understanding of moving up. I have to look back in order to go forward…umm…what?! In certain industries that have direct customer interaction, this is intuitive, (I mean, your customer is your feedback) but in a manufacturing or industrial environment it appears less direct. The nature of the business in these environments is pretty direct: there’s an operational process that needs to be followed and that’s the standard you go off of to improve which directly correlates to your ability to be able to manage bigger and/or more complicated processes. So my semi-cynical and very conceited side has to ask: what can I learn from my associates about the process that I don’t already know?
“A. Lot.” -reply from slightly bruised ego
Exactly. Today, in particular, was quite challenging when I had an associate mention that I have “a nasty tone.” Upon further (and very calm on my part) inquiry, she couldn’t define an instance where I was rude (win?), but it was still very beneficial for me as a leader. Emotionally, I was able to contain my bewilderment over her outlandish, if not bold, comments, which is a big win for this “heart on your sleeve” person. Professionally, it helped me alter my focus to understand and verify before making a response in communicating. Her feedback, though may be skewed, allowed me to re-position my leadership stance to be better not only for myself, but for my team: above and below.
Though we naturally want to seek the approval of our bosses and superiors, it can be just as critical to get the acceptance and respect from your associates. Feedback from either end is observations with a slight perception twist. Whether you agree with it, it’s important to still absorb the information in a critical way in order to make yourself more well-rounded in any industry or leadership role. Well-rounded is being able to cover all areas and complete the circle, or loop. Key note: Don’t dismiss feedback immediately just because it comes from a source you don’t agree with. Otherwise, we’ll go infinitely in the direction without getting where we want to be.
Let me know of a time you received advice from an unexpected source and how it helped (or didn’t) via my Twitter account!
Picture credit: http://help.ooyala.com/video-platform/documentation/concepts/content_discovery_about_feedback_loop.html