man giving feedback to employee
Posted: April 2, 2024
Author: burlesandco

How to Handle Feedback When You’re the Boss

Feedback is a gift that allows you to know exactly where you stand so you can learn from your mistakes and grow both personally and professionally. Being a good leader means being flexible, always supporting your team, and understanding your own strengths and weaknesses. Asking for input from your team creates a culture of trust and transparency, enhancing loyalty, engagement, and productivity within your workplace. 

However, getting honest answers isn’t always easy. People might hold back, especially if they’re worried about job security or causing upset. Leaders need to create a space where feedback is not just welcomed but encouraged. This means having difficult conversations when necessary, learning when and how to ask for feedback, and finding ways to ensure your team feels comfortable being honest with you. By embracing input and being open to learning, you can keep growing and lead your team to success. 

In this article, we’ll explore why feedback is so important for business leaders and give you some practical tips on handling and making the most of the feedback you get from your team. 

Why is feedback essential for business leaders? 

Feedback provides a roadmap for leaders, showing them what they’re doing well and where they can improve. It gives insight into how your actions and decisions affect your team, organisation, and wider stakeholders. Whether it’s a pat on the back for doing a good job or a nudge in the right direction for improvement, feedback is key to growing as a leader. 

Not only does feedback boost self-awareness, but it also helps improve team dynamics, facilitate open communication, and drive organisational success. 

How do I get feedback as a leader? 

We’ve established the importance of feedback and explored how it fuels growth and development for leaders. But how do you actually get feedback from your team? 

Quite simply, you just need to ask! You can have casual conversations in the office or opt for a more structured approach, such as using questionnaires or integrating feedback sessions into performance reviews or team meetings. 

And it’s not just your team from whom you can get feedback. Business mentors or coaches can offer some great insights too. At Puddle, we offer one-on-one support, giving you honest, no-nonsense advice to help you up your game as a boss. 

Why not check out our business mentorship and business coaching services today?

How do I make the most out of feedback?

Getting answers out of your team can be tricky, and knowing how to handle and apply feedback effectively can be just as hard. We’ve put together some top tips to help you become better at inviting and responding to opinions effectively. 

1. Don’t take it personally.

Receiving criticism is never easy, but it’s crucial to becoming a better business leader. Even though it might sting at first, learning to turn that negative critique into motivation is a real game changer. 

It’s essential not to take feedback personally or react in a way that discourages your team from providing a response. They’ll clam up if they think you can’t handle it, which doesn’t help anyone. 

2. Have a go-to question.

Asking people directly about their concerns can feel awkward for everyone involved. To establish a safe space and encourage open dialogue, try framing questions in a natural and personalised way. Make it a regular part of conversation to allow your team members to feel comfortable and prepared to provide valuable insights. 

For instance, you could ask, “What can I do to support you better in your day-to-day tasks?” or “Have you noticed anything in your role that needs more attention from me?” This way, you keep the conversation light and open, making it easier for everyone to speak up.

3. Listen! 

When you’re getting feedback, focus on really listening and understanding what the other person is saying. Instead of immediately preparing a response or defence in your head, take the time to absorb what they’re saying. It’s better to respond with something like, “I hear what you’re saying, thank you,” rather than starting with “I hear what you’re saying, but…” 

Being defensive right off the bat can close off valuable learning opportunities. Feedback lets us see things from different angles, so staying open-minded is vital to learning and growing.

4. Respond to feedback.

To keep feedback alive in your workplace, it’s important to follow up with individuals and let them know what actions you’ve taken based on their input. Clearly outline the steps you’ll take based on their suggestions, but be careful not to overpromise and undeliver. 

If you weren’t able to make changes, explain why. Don’t leave employees in the dark. It’s best to be as transparent as possible about limitations such as budget constraints, resource availability or company policies. This keeps everyone in the loop and shows respect for their input. 

And, if you don’t see eye-to-eye on the feedback, turn it into a constructive conversation. Explain your perspective and encourage an open discussion. After all, everyone’s entitled to their opinion, and you want your team to feel valued, not dismissed or belittled for their suggestions. 

5. Don’t mistake feedback sessions for venting.

Constant venting can make you and your team feel worse. It just reinforces frustration without any focus on learning or finding solutions. And, when someone doesn’t feel safe giving feedback directly, they end up venting to someone else, which doesn’t fix the problem in the long run. 

So, instead of letting frustrations fester and spread, make feedback a regular part of your team’s routine. Create a safe environment where people feel comfortable giving feedback directly rather than resorting to venting to others. This way, you can address issues head-on and work together to find real solutions. 

Elevate your leadership with Burles & Co. business mentorship, coaching and consultancy services. Gain the tools and skills to effectively seek out, receive, and implement feedback. Start harnessing the power of feedback today – give us a call at 07778 489332.