Over the last several days, I’ve had the pleasure of being in Cincinnati. It’s one of my favorite small US cities. It’s easy to get around. There’s a lot to do. The people are nice. And I can connect with my heritage via German food and drink. I have fond memories of visiting Cincinnati many years ago as a newlywed to visit the zoo and attend a baseball game (lifelong Reds fan!). More recently, while living 90 miles south, in Lexington (KY), my family and I would make day-trips to stretch our legs and take in some new Cincinnati restaurants. Good schools, a nice downtown, professional sports teams, and friendly people. What’s not to like!
This week was an opportunity to reflect, listen, grow, learn, teach, grow, encourage, and grow. Though I had an opportunity to enjoy a few of the sights and sounds of the city, I was in town for a intense leadership conference with colleagues from all over the country, representing many functional areas. It was a blast! Challenging. Fun. Stretching. Valuable.
My heart was to help, to encourage, and to learn. I know I accomplished the last objective (learn) and early feedback is that, at least in some small way, I was able to help and encourage some others along their leadership journey. Did I already say it was a blast? It was. That doesn’t mean it was easy or without challenges. It means that the ROI was high. It means that I learned a lot. It means that I was challenged. It means there was a lot of hard work with an even higher return. And who knows how much value will be added in the future as we test, adjust, and implement the learnings into our daily leadership actions and routine.
What struck me the most was the value of good feedback. I don’t mean positive feedback. I mean good, accurate, appropriate, helpful, performance-related feedback. You’ve probably heard this all your life. Or most of it anyway. If you’ve been on an athletic team, in the corporate world or part of a military unit, you’ve undoubtedly heard about the value of feedback. I’m not sharing something new, I’m just adding my voice and reinforcing its value.
Want to improve? Seek out feedback. … Want to help members of your team improve? Provide feedback. … Want to stand out from the crowd? Solicit feedback from key stakeholders and act up that feedback. … Good feedback is easy to take because it’s given without judgment. But my observation is that many of us have been on the receiving (and giving) end of bad feedback. Perhaps it wasn’t even truly feedback. But feedback that’s specific, timely, non-judgmental, and given in the spirit of love is a rare and valuable gift. Feedback that is given to encourage, to elevate, and to improve is special. And great leaders truly value it.
Do you value feedback? Are you a skilled giver (and receiver) of feedback? Do you practice giving better feedback? Perhaps in another article I will describe some feedback best practices. But for now, I simply am challenging you (and me) to value feedback, work on improving your delivery (and receipt), and take actions to develop yourself based upon the feedback of others and self.
As always, your feedback and comments are welcome.
Dr. Robert Gerwig is an agent of change and is able to balance the needs of the business and the needs of people. Dr. Gerwig believes and practices the values of performance and delivery of business metrics while simultaneously developing and growing people into leaders. You can contact him at RobertGerwig[at]LeadStrategic.com.
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