You Asked BUT Are You Willing to Do It?
A recent workshop participant of mine shared that he had been asking his colleagues for feedback about the image he was conveying at work. He decided he wanted to be more strategic in creating the brand impression he intended. To determine what adjustments he might need to make, the best thing for him was to ask the people who saw him daily.
In a previous session, he defined his brand model; he was clear how he wanted to be seen and what he wanted to be known for. Getting feedback was the next step to understanding what needed to be tweaked. He knew that how he was perceived impacted his success.
His team members and colleagues were generous with their feedback, although it was not all positive. At first, he was grateful for their honesty but he eventually became defensive.
He started to think, “Come on, I’m not that bad!!” He realized he was asking for feedback because it was what he thought he should do! He also realized he was becoming emotionally defensive and was resisting the change he needed to make to leave the brand impression he intended!
This was a big surprise to him. Why would he ask if he wasn’t willing or ready to change? That is key, why would you ask? You ask so you can make changes or so you can hear what you are doing right? The answer has a huge impact on the action you take or not.
Know Your Purpose
If you’re going to ask for feedback, be clear about your purpose. You want to be sure that you understand what they are saying and that you are willing to change if necessary. Get details and ask what behaviours they see that are creating this perception.
For example, being ‘aggressive’ is hard to change. You need details. Are you interrupting? What is the tone of your message? What does your body language reveal? Do you appear tense? Without details, you are left guessing what specifically is creating a negative impression.
Ask your colleagues questions until you clearly understand what behaviour might be problematic for your brand.
Getting Successful Feedback
- Ask the people whose opinion you value.
- Make sure you are clear about what you are asking for and why you are asking. Let the other person know why you are asking and how their feedback will help you.
- Be considerate and ask if they have a few minutes to provide you with feedback or when might be a good time to follow up with them.
- Ask questions so you are clear. Make sure you know the behaviours, not just the words, that they feel is contributing to the perception.
Getting To Change
Ask for their continued support. Let them know the best way they can provide this is to gently point out when you slip up if you don’t recognize it on your own. Just as importantly, let them know how much you would appreciate them telling you when you are getting it right!
Leadership takes courage. Living by the brand standards you choose takes courage. Being courageous and asking for feedback provides greater awareness. Awareness with deliberate action leads to change.
Align yourself with what matters most to you. Live your brand fully expressed with intention and purpose to play bigger!
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