What if your greatest opportunity to grow as a leader was right in front of you every day? Your team may hold the key to unlocking new opportunities for your professional development, and there is one simple thing you can do to make sure you don’t miss out on information that could make you better. Ask for feedback.
The best leaders feel there is always an opportunity to grow, so they consistently ask for feedback on their performance. A study of more than 50,000 executives done by leadership development consultants Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman, found that "Leaders who ranked at the top 10% in asking for feedback were rated, on average, at the 86th percentile in overall leadership effectiveness." Bottom line – asking for feedback can help you become a better leader.
It’s important to ask how you’re doing because it can be difficult to know exactly how your strengths and weaknesses are impacting your team. Your people see you at your best, and they see you at your worst, which means they have information that could help you improve. Their feedback on your performance is extremely valuable and can help you to identify areas for growth. However, even if you are an approachable manager who asks people for their honest feedback, you may not always get it because some people feel uncomfortable giving feedback to managers.
A great way around this is to provide your employees with the opportunity to give feedback anonymously. For example, The Center for Sales Strategy offers a program called Talent Insight Executive Coaching which allows you to anonymously survey your team to learn which talents are coming through loud and clear and which are not. This strength-based program identifies specific growth opportunities and provides managers with strategies to maximize their talents and ultimately improve the performance of their sales team.
Whether you get in-person feedback or feedback through a coaching program like Talent Insight, it’s important to follow through on what you learned.
Here are some tips for what you can do after you receive feedback:
- Analyze the feedback. When you evaluate feedback you receive, it’s smart to start with strengths. Talent Insight starts with an assessment of the manager’s leadership talents, so we know what comes naturally to them. We then look for the greatest growth opportunities especially areas where the manager has talent, but the team is not seeing it.
- Identify strategies and practice. Once you identify the areas to improve, the next step is to implement strategies that will help you grow and positively impact your team. Just like an athlete or musician must practice in order to develop their talents, you must spend time focusing on and practicing your leadership talents.
- Ask for support. Make sure you have a good support team around you that will cheer you on and hold you accountable. Including mentors, managers, trusted advisors, etc., in your feedback and growth plan can help you digest feedback that can sometimes be difficult to hear and stick to the strategies that will grow your strengths.
Your greatest opportunity to grow as a leader sits in front of you every day. Don't miss out on the opportunity to improve yourself and improve your team's sales performance by asking for feedback.