Thanks – I Appreciate your Feedback

It was the end of another year and I began to reflect on how the company had done and plans
for the following year. It seemed like a daunting assignment, not sure which way the company
would go and particularly if my team is ready for the challenge. The year before had been
tough, I spent time training on how the business environment works, professionalism,
adhering to deadlines, building relationships with client. This resulted in very little new client
acquisition or upselling clients. The words of the non-executive director brought we back to
the present time, I heard him thank the team and I was not expecting the question he asked
– “what do you think the company can do better and what feedback do you have for your
boss that can help you work better?” Really, I was not prepared for the answer I heard. From
my “looking glass” I had been supportive, firm but also considerate and I had taught my team
a lot. I was kind of expecting feedback along these lines. But the feedback I got caught me off
guard. It was nowhere near positive and I was so saddened by this, not angry but sad that my
effort to groom my two employees was misconstrued and not appreciated. As we talked
more, I tried to see things from their side of the table and imagine I was looking through a

glass – at myself. I left that dinner that day with a lot of information which I pondered on and
also tried to sift out the relevant ones. That was nine years ago.
Most managers are quite comfortable giving feedback and rating the performance of their
direct reports. An important question to ask is how often do these managers ask for
constructive feedback from their direct reports and/or team and are they really ready to listen
and take feedback without being defensive or prejudice? In our years of operations, working
with different clients, we have observed from engagement surveys, exit interviews and
opinion polls that there is a high correlation between employee performance and work
relationship with line manager. Employees who have supportive bosses tend to perform
better and are more engaged compared to employees who feel their bosses use derogatory
words and/or are unsupportive. Employee morale is low when they do not feel like they are a
link in the chain contributing through meaningful work in a conducive environment. If we as
managers are getting feedback from our team and improving on areas of gaps, we are not
only increasing employee retention but we will experience changes in commitment and
performance levels resulting in exceptional results. Again, not all feedback is an action item
or necessarily something to change or improve. Some people go overboard, some are just in
the wrong job and others may just want to say something. I have found that the no action
required feedback only makes up 10% of the entire feedback received. This means you have to
listen to it all. Basic rules to getting continuous and relevant feedback are never argue,
condemn or probe when feedback is given. Yes, you may ask if whoever is giving feedback
can talk about a scenario when a particular behavior was displayed. Remember the feedback
you are receiving is the person’s perception of you and how they interpret your behaviour.
More often than not, we see ourselves differently from the way others see us. The way people
see us is often a true representation of who we are.
I smile as I write this, because I am a work in progress and I see how being aware has helped
me improve and be a better leader. One exercise I do which has been very rewarding in
producing sincere feedback is getting feedback during performance review sessions which
occurs quite often in our organization. It has been the best practice I picked up, forcing me to
reflect and find ways to be better and more importantly motivate and engage my team

appropriately in achieving results. Trust me – getting feedback is not easy particularly when I
feel strongly that somethings are not true, but, practice leads to perfection.
What are you going to do differently after reading this? Are you ready to – GTA; get feedback,
take feedback and act on feedback?