You walk down the hallway back to your desk, feeling a little bit tired. You're about to make the turn, but instead you go straight and you end up in your boss’s office.
You ask him, “Do you have a minute?”
He says yes and you sit down. He is probably thinking. Here it comes…
Let the complaining begin.
Instead you say...
I just have a quick question.
What is one thing I could do to improve on my work?
He’s stunned. Doesn’t know what to say.
I've been helping companies get better feedback from their customers and employees since 2010, but rarely do we ask for feedback from people in our day to day lives.
I thought about the feedback that I give myself. My inner critic is always giving me feedback, but I realized that I was asking the wrong type of questions.
I recently messed up the timezones and showed up to a phone meeting with a potential client an hour late. Of course he wasn't on the line. I remember asking myself why did I think I could start my own business. Who would hire such an idiot like me?
Really bad questions.
I let this stomp through my mind as I fell asleep.
Now I look back on this old self and smile. What a dummy I was to hate on myself so much.
Good questions are the key to better feedback.
I started improving on how I reflected on my day. I decided to use the same system I have my clients get back from their customers and employees. I rated my day on a scale of 0 - 10. 0 being lousy and 10 being amazing. I began to keep track of how I felt and where I could improve.
Then I asked myself 3 questions:
1. What went well?
2. What could I have done better?
3. What is one thing about my day that I want to remember? (my daily story)
A much more balanced approach to reviewing my day. I focused on the positives, improvements for growth, and savoring the day that I had.
My happiness went from a 7 to a 9. Improving how I reviewed my day made a huge difference.
I savored my day so much more by remembering the good things that happened to me.
Asking people in your life better questions to improve your relationships is just as important.
Learning from My Son
I recently asked my 6 year old son what I could do better as a dad.
"Play more legos with me."
I smiled and said, “I can do that.”
That was it. And that's what I did.
Sometimes the feedback can be painful, but it's better to get it out in the open instead of hiding from it.
I had some really rough feedback from a recent book review:
"The most boring book I've ever read." Amy M.
My heart sank when I read her feedback, so I emailed her. She replied back apologizing for that the book didn’t deliver what she wanted from it. She actually didn't think the book was that boring, it just reminded her of how she felt stuck in her life.
Her feedback gave me a chance to connect with someone. She turned into a supporter after our email exchange.
If I would have dismissed her feedback I would never have turned a hater into a supporter.
I've asked my son...What do I do well as a father?
"You play on the floor with me."
Now I know that's one of his favorite things to do and can do more of it.
On one day my son held his hands over his ears as I was lecturing him. At first I got mad then I realized he was just giving me feedback to be a better parent.
So I asked him what he could do to help me realize that I was lecturing too much. He thought for a second and he came up with a sign that didn't make me feel as bad. He lifted up his hands up to his face and began wiggling his fingers around.
He made them dance in the air.
Now he uses his wiggling fingers as his signal to me that I'm lecturing too much.
The Importance of Showing You Care
Good feedback shows you care about your relationships. Good feedback also builds confidence. The more you learn about who you are the more you can grow.
The hardest part about listening to feedback is being open to all sides. Sometimes to get to the good you have to wade through the bad. It's the domino effect of feedback. The better you are at asking good questions and listen to the feedback the more each conversation tips toward a happier life.
That's why the ability to reframe feedback is so important. People give feedback intentionally and unintentionally every single day. Try not to judge the feedback. Use each response as a chance for growth instead of a chance to beat yourself up.
Look at how you get feedback from coworkers, employees, and your family. Are you showing them that you are listening to their problem and their ideas?
When you listen to the people in your life and willing to incorporate their ideas into your life you are open to growth. You’ll learn more about yourself, your boss, and your family. It’s this growth that will help you grow with the people around you. As you probably know, it’s seeing progress at work that makes us happy.
Don’t expect to take action on everyone’s feedback, but always be willing to listen.
Next time you finish a project ask your boss or the leader of the project:
What is one thing I could do to improve on my performance?
Watch what happens.