Last week, I was listening to John Maxwell on his podcast and he was having a conversation with Rob Hoskins. They had recently been on the road speaking together and Rob shared that he asked John for feedback on how he could be a better speaker. John gave him some candid feedback and Rob was able to implement it and improve immediately.
While reflecting on that experience, John said, “Rob, you wouldn’t have had any help at all if you hadn’t asked for it.” He said that he would have never given Rob that advice had he not asked. He went on to challenge leaders to ask themselves, “How many times have I missed improvement opportunities because I don’t have a teachable spirit?”How many times have I missed improvement opportunities because I don't have a teachable spirit? -John MaxwellClick To Tweet
That led me to ask myself that question and to reflect on my answer. Thankfully, I think I was born with a teachable spirit. I’ve actually been accused of being too teachable! That said, I want to share a few thoughts on the power of teachability and the willingness to ask for and receive feedback
1. Asking for Feedback will Lead to Your Most Significant Growth Opportunities.
I ask for feedback as often as I can. In fact, at the end of every interview I do for the podcast, I ask my guest if they have any feedback that could help me become a better interviewer. More often than not, my guest will compliment me and tell me they do not have any feedback. However, once in a while a guest will provide feedback and it changes my interview skills forever.
For example, I remember one guest telling me, “You have so many questions and you are so ready to get to the next question that it sounds like you’re not actually listening to your guest. You’re missing opportunities to places that could be extremely valuable for your listeners.”
That feedback was spot on. Why was I so focused on going to the next question? Because I was insecure. I was too worried about what the person I was interviewing thought of me. That feedback helped me to become more confident and to let interviews go where they may and to not go with the script I often used to hide my insecurity. Feedback always leads to growth opportunities. Ask for feedback!
2. Not Asking for Feedback will Hold You Back and You Won’t Even Know It.
One of the reasons feedback is so helpful is because it exposes our blind spots. What if I wouldn’t have asked for feedback about how I interview? Would that guest have given me that feedback? Nope. And I would have continued to have a blind spot and hide behind my questions and never become a better interviewer.
In life, very few people will ever give you feedback unless you ask for it.In life, very few people will ever give you feedback unless you ask for it. Click To Tweet
Ask yourself: How many areas of my life are there growth opportunities that I am not aware of that I am missing out on because I am unwilling to ask for feedback?
3.) Asking for Feedback Requires Humility and Courage
Is it easy to receive feedback? No way! It’s very difficult. There have been times that I have received feedback and literally curled into a ball in a corner of a room paralyzed for an hour because it was so hard to hear. However, I’ve learned that we can’t change what we’re unaware of, and often times the feedback I want to receive the least is often the feedback I need to hear most!often times the feedback I want to receive the least is often the feedback I need to hear most! Click To Tweet
Bottom line: The cost of not asking for feedback far outweighs the cost of our discomfort in receiving it.The cost of not asking for feedback far outweighs the cost of our discomfort in receiving it. Click To Tweet
Be humble. Be courageous. It’s what growth requires of us.
I’ll also add that as a leader, you need to model teachability to your team. If your team can see you ask for and receive feedback with humility and courage, they’ll be more open to giving feedback and to asking for it and receiving it themselves.
4.) Make Asking for Feedback a Daily Discipline in Your Life
I hope that I’ve convinced you to crave feedback in your life. If I have, here are some practical ways you can ask for feedback on a consistent basis:
- Ask Your Team and Your Boss – In every one on one I have with an employee that I supervise, I end our weekly meetings by asking them to give me one piece of feedback that could help me become a better leader and manager for them or our team. I ask the same question to my boss. That question has led to some incredible (and challenging) growth opportunities.
- Ask for Feedback in Your Craft – Whatever you do, ask for feedback on it. For example, I ask for feedback on interviewing, giving presentations, leading meetings, fundraising, and systems and processes I’ve put into place.
- Ask Your Family – In our weekly family team meetings, Laura and I ask, what is one thing we could do to help improve our family team? Then we give each other feedback.
- Ask Your Customers – Want to improve your product or service? Ask those you serve for feedback on how you could improve.
Once you get in the habit of asking for feedback, you’ll see opportunities to ask for it everywhere you go.
Once you start receiving feedback with humility and courage, you’ll start to see growth opportunities everywhere you go.
Once you start growing through your growth opportunities, you’ll become a better leader, manager, father, husband, mother, wife, and friend.
When you become better, so will everyone else around you and it will have all started because you were willing to ask for feedback.
Thoughts? Comment below.
Challenge: Ask one person for feedback this week. Let me know how it goes!