As humans we sometimes can be willfully ignorant. If we do not look for the right signs, we will continue to make the same mistakes. But, the truth is “You don’t know what you don’t know”.
If we were to try and discover things by ourselves, we will never know what we don’t know. There will always be gaps in our knowledge, places where we are absolutely clueless as to our ignorance.
In short, we may be blind-sided.
If you are a mid-level executive who has been on a fast-paced growth, and have always felt in-control, appreciated and valued, and are still baffled by the fact that you are not able to make the jump to the next level despite doing all the right things, I guess you may be blind-sided too.
That is where ‘Feedback’ comes to our rescue. To get your act straight, you must actively seek feedback, and then set forth on the path to change what may need to be changed with your current approach.
I can help you with a few tips on feedback-
- No one likes to give negative feedback, so you have to ask for it, and let us call feedback for improvement or further development, so that your boss, your peers etc. know that you understand that they are helping you become better.
- You may still end up defending yourself or rejecting the feedback. So, stay open, try to understand it in detail. Be curious. Ask genuine questions.
- Make notes, ask for specific incidences and behaviors, such as “when the last time you made the presentation, you spent a lot of time building the story and by the time you came to support required from leadership, people had kind of switched off and did not stay interested.” You may think that the background and story were essential while the leadership’s attention span is small and not only that your efforts are going waste but also leadership may think that you do not know how to make an effective presentation.
- Once you have observed yourself and concluded that you want to make a change , have an accountability partner, someone you can rely upon. Get feedback from the accountability partner on the course and keep on working till you have mastered the change.
- Remember, it is in your best interest to make sure that the decision makers see that change in you. You should go back to them and seek fresh feedback or observations at an appropriate time.
These feedback conversations, accepting and implementing will definitely help you reach the next level you are looking at.