Without Feedback No Rocket Gets to the Moon

September 7, 2018 Open Leadership No Comments

Even on a regular office day, EVERYTHING can be seen as feedback, which you in your turn can react to as feedback. This way everything becomes one big school of life.

There are 2 ways to look at feedback:

1) Feedback is the glue that keeps everything together. Without feedback, things are not tuned in to each other. This leads to disintegration.

2) Feedback is the sheer essence which all is about. A good or less good cooperation in a company is feedback. Motivation or no motivation is feedback. Trading results are feedback. Performance interviews are feedback in 2 ways.  Whether or not a rocket reaches the moon is also eventually feedback …

You get the type of feedback you deserve.

Therefore it’s meaningful to go deeply into the matter of  how to earn good feedback. You can always look at it as a ‘gift’, thus thanking for it is the proper thing to do. This turns you, at a deeper level, from receiver to giver (of thanks). This may be far-reaching. You could experience your own ‘good morning, how are you?’ as a thank you for the feedback given by the other by appearing at the office today on time and full of motivation.

More in general: the way in which you react to feedback  defines the quality of the next feedback you will get.

It’s well worth your time and attention. It is even to a large degree the way in which you and your co-workers  together form your leadership. After all, you are not a leader without the people you lead. I.e.: without your interaction with them. I.e.: feedback.

A sequence that enhances your leadership would go like this:

1) You get feedback.

2) You think about it.

3) You don’t let yourself be changed. You also make this clear. You are not a weathercock, are you?

4) You change from inside, if appropriate. Based on the feedback, you make a new synthesis that leads to action.

5) You show why (or why not) and initiate new action.

Important: responding to feedback is YOUR decision. Moreover, that of you-as-leader.

By doing so you turn the responding to feedback into a ‘deep communication of leadership’.

From ego-perspective, this of course puts you under the group. A leader serves his people and that is okay. This also grants you – In contrast with ‘the boss’ – at the same time your position of leader at the top. Every feedback, throughout the day, is a confirmation of this. It is a way to deepen the sense that ‘together we are doing great’. On the whole you stay congruous with yourself in a spontaneous way, therefore reliable, trustworthy. If you, when getting feedback from a co-worker, change your plans just like that, then what is your leadership worth?

Feedback is sometimes the manifestation of an apparently only half conscious opinion.  In that case, feel free to keep on asking questions. You may come across a hidden opinion in the other one that is of utter importance for him. Or maybe you can come to an even better opinion together. Here the deeper message is: you are the gate to what lies behind. You are the true leader who is able to realize this.

In feedback you will also find something of the goal of the other one.

At best it shows the relation of his personal goals with how he senses the company’s vision. To show that  constantly appreciating this together coincides with your goal, is extremely motivating! Most likely you find in this again and again the opportunity to let that person give the best of himself with reference to what the feedback is about.

In a broader sense, your openness to feedback is a good way to prevent dissatisfaction as shown in turnovers, burnout, social unrest…

All this as well through the information you get as through the appreciation you give when asking, or at least listening to, opinions of all kinds. Besides, also not to be despised: you communicate that ‘striking’ is not needed in order to be heard. To stop working is an explicit way of ‘going on strike’. It can also happen implicitly by working to rule, or by committing all kinds of small sabotage (which, according to research, seems to happen a lot more than presumed). Or e.g. by simply refusing to give any more feedback.

Therefore, instead of waiting for feedback, it is better to ask for it actively, with an Open Leadership mentality.

Not from insecurity, but from a realization that feedback leads to powerful decisions. Best to make your co-workers familiar with this idea! Never forget; on the symbolic level (!) a leader is the one who gives. You give feedback. You give the opportunity for feedback. You give attention to the feedback you receive. You give your opinion. You give room for development. You give opportunity for meaningful work and cooperation. In everything you do, you are the one who gives. And for all of this you get in return: leadership. And of course, that’s feedback as well, the best part of it.

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