One Breakfast of Champions Too Much?
Ken Blanchard coined the famous phrase “Feedback is the breakfast of champions.” After years of being told feedback is the key to growth, most of us have finally succumbed to the idea that it’s good to get a view on what other people think of the work you are doing.
But are you placing TOO much reliance on that feedback and what other people think?
A lot of the time in my clients I see a reliance on feedback more as a form of approval than anything else. With recognition being thin on the ground in most professional services organisations, professionals are forced to turn to “feedback” as a means of working out what they are doing well, and not so well.
I believe this directly impacts the confidence of the professional to be a self-starter, and undermines the value they are able to contribute to their clients and the organisation.
The Responsibility To Others
Many senior professionals I coach also complain to me that they feel the younger generation don’t take ownership of their work, nor do their best work before bringing it to them for feedback and help.
The responsibility for encouraging greater quality of work and effort lies in both camps. The person doing the work must take full responsibility for their own effort, and not rely on the fact it will get “fixed up” by the person they report to.
And the senior professional must be an enabler of growth – that is, they must be able to let go of the reins sufficiently so that their mentee feels empowered and enabled in their position. (Micro-managers take note!)
Understanding your own behavioural tendencies, as well as those in your team, is key to being able to lead and mentor effectively. If you are a “big picture thinker” mentoring a “detail-orientated do-er”, it will benefit you to take more care in articulating the detail of a task or project so your mentee understands what is expected of them, while also helping them grow by sharing the bigger-picture scenario with them.
Change The Language, Change The Meaning
As for “feedback”, I encourage you to stop using that word and use this one instead (both when seeking and giving feedback) – INPUT. “Input” presupposes that you are confident in the work you have done, or the idea you have come up with. Rather than “feedback” which has potentially negative connotations, “input” suggests collaboration, a mature sharing of ideas and a more equal footing with the person you are reporting to.
Seeking input, not feedback, is much more appropriate for the confident, smart, able business-woman that you are. Start changing your language, and watch the results flow.
PS For these and many other strategies on how to create success as a senior woman in business, join me at my upcoming workshop “Get What You Want At Work” in Brisbane (only 10 seats left) and Sydney in May (filling fast). Click here to get more information, dates and to register for either workshop.