Turn Feedback into Your Management Brand’s Strength

After three weeks of requests, I finally caved in and bought a case of Prime for my kids. That first day, their faces lit up, and they proudly announced to each other, “We have Prime!”

We all gave each other high fives. They brought Prime to school to share with friends. They told their teammates about the flavors they’d tried.

Fast forward a few weeks, the excitement didn’t last. 

I started finding almost full bottles on the kitchen counter, in their rooms, and in the backseat of the car. Then unthinkable happened: I watched my youngest son pour his Prime into the grass at the park so he could fill his bottle up with water.

At that moment, I understood there was a difference between what they wanted and what they valued. 

I told my kids I’m never buying them Prime again. It was clear that getting them this drink was a complete waste of my time.

Cool story bro, why am I reading this?

Good question.

I’m telling you this story because I want you to realize that this is what some of you are doing with the feedback you get from your team. 

You say you want it, but then you get it, take a drink, and leave it on the counter or dump it down the drain. 

Your team watches you do it and it’s why they stop giving you feedback.

Don’t let this happen!

Let feedback become your superpower.

Close your gaps

As a leader, you need to have a Growth Mindset.

There is value in all feedback.

It will help you see: 

  • The thought process of your team
  • Themes in the problems your team is facing.
  • When there is misalignment between your actions and intentions.

When you aren’t open to feedback, your personal growth becomes frozen. Defensive leaders stunt their growth because they are always looking to frame problems as someone else’s learning opportunity, instead of taking ownership for the role they play. 

Remember, your brand is what people are saying about you when you aren’t in the room. You can be oblivious to the conversations or you can encourage people to be candid with you so you can make adjustments.

🕶 Listening to feedback isn’t enough. Great leaders translate feedback into actionable items. When employees see changes being made based on their input, it not only validates their concerns but also instills a sense of ownership in the organization’s trajectory.

More humble leaders

Your managerial brand isn’t built on the decisions you make when things are going well. People will remember how you react when they aren’t. 

By treating feedback as a gift and not as criticism, you’re building a brand anchored in 

  • humility, 
  • resilience, 
  • and adaptability

Everyone wants to work for a leader like this, which makes it easier to hire and retain great people.

People also want to work WITH a leader like this, which will make it easier for you to get selected for challenging assignments and a promotion.

What is culture?

Your team’s culture is a direct reflection of your brand.

Every company has two cultures.

  • The public culture on the website
  • The private culture employees see and feel

Your team will become more invested in the success of the group when their voices are valued. You create this environment by proactively seeking out feedback and then taking action. 

This doesn’t mean you immediately implement every piece of feedback you receive. Sometimes this action is having a follow up conversation to explain why a change is not being made.

It’s not just about improving processes, but about forming a bond where everyone knows they’re rowing in the same direction.

So what gets in your way?

I am extremely empathetic to the challenges managers are facing right now. The job is changing every day. Even when things aren’t broken, there is still a constant demand to innovate. And when you are giving a role everything you have to give, it can be challenging to hear criticism. Especially when you don’t feel recognized for the work you are doing.

Your team won’t see the countless hours you are putting in and personal sacrifices you are making for the good of the group, but you can’t hold this against them.

Being open to feedback requires you do the things you need to do to be at your best. That’s why next week I’m writing about Emotional Intelligence.

Jacob Espinoza is a leadership coach in Salem, Oregon. For more information visit JacobEspinoza.com.

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