Feedback isn’t always a huge conversation about a major mistake, conflict, or interpersonal issue. It’s also not unidirectional, from manager to direct report. As important as it is to give good feedback, managers have to be deft at soliciting feedback as well. This can be tricky at first, because many of us are understandably reluctant to criticize our bosses. The first step then is to build trust among the team in your ability to receive feedback. Asking questions of your direct reports like “How do you think I could have handled that better?” or “What would you change about our [all-hands/ daily stand up/ regular team] meetings?” will signal that you are seeking to improve as a manager and teammate.
On teams with cultures where respectful, productive feedback is the norm, teammates are seeking to make workflow smoother, as well as support the professional development of colleagues. Presumably you’re here because you want to be a stronger manager. Find out how to improve from those who know best, your own team.
Manager action: Begin to incorporate receiving feedback into your one-on-ones. As a normal course of conversation (about once a month), ask “What feedback do you have for me?” The way you model listening, considering, and acting on the feedback will open up conversations for everyone on the team to level up.
Self-reflection: When was the last time you modeled courage for your team?