mind your business: Why Feedback is Your Key to Winning
2. Suspend judgment.
Many young managers believe that if they don't act like they have the answer, their employees will lose respect for them. This thought-process is backward: Pretending to have all the answers is the chief cause of not being respected.
If you are prone to snap judgments and haven't disciplined your mind to routinely suspend judgment, then you will assess, judge and determine your response without getting all the feedback. You might be right 75 percent of the time, but the 25 percent of the time that you jumped to a conclusion could cost you your career. When you are getting feedback from a team member, learn to hold back on your first response and make no judgment until you have finished your conversation with this associate.
3. Search deeper.
Rarely will an employee reveal everything to you about something right off the bat. As a leader, it is your job to bring out what the other person is thinking. Ask questions to search deeper for what the person is trying to convey: How do you mean that? Can you give me an example? Why is this important? How will this affect us? Which do you think will get you more feedback—a statement you make that ends in a period, or one that ends in a question mark?
That's what the CEO and president of General Motors, John F. Smith, did. He undertook the most significant reorganization in the company's history. He succeeded in engendering this practice of listening among the management team and the results were that GM went from near bankruptcy to a profit. "Good things happen when you pay attention," Smith concluded.
Chances are good that right now your associates have information you need to hear. Practice these three skills constantly and the trust and feedback you gain could make the difference in your career.