Tag Archive | feedback

A Wise Leader (Part 2)

© Depositphotos.com/ petrograd99

© Depositphotos.com/petrograd99

Love and truth form a good leader; sound leadership is founded on loving integrity. Proverbs 20:28 (The Message)

As I mentioned in my last blog, I’m participating in a two-year leadership program at my church. Part of leadership is the ability to receive and deliver feedback in a constructive and encouraging manner so that all parties are able to move forward in the best possible way. Feedback has always been difficult for me because I tend to hear it through the lens of criticism.

If you reject discipline, you only harm yourself; but if you listen to correction, you grow in understanding. Proverbs 15:32 (NLT)

A couple of weeks ago I emailed a leadership and character review to a number of people I’ve worked with in a variety of roles and positions. 24 people took the time to offer me feedback.

I learned so much from the specific information in the survey. I’ve taken the time to go through all of the comments and have focused in on a few areas that need to be addressed. Beyond the specifics, I also learned a few things about myself and others just by going through this process.

I commented in my last post about how I basically completed the survey for myself, specifically highlighting the worst about myself so that nothing would surprise me.

What I learned about myself is that I’m my own worst critic.

For the most part, no one mentioned the things I said about myself at my worst. Only 1% of people rated me lower than I rated myself. Either I’m a really good actress, which I’m not, or I’m not responding or performing as poorly as I think I am as often as I think I do.

It’s important to be able to take an honest look at yourself and the actions and attitudes that make relationships and work environments difficult. It’s also important to remember what you do well and how you contribute to the overall purpose and mission of whatever group you’re part of.

While I’m not sure I like the idea of others being my worst critics, I know I’m way too hard on myself and need to focus on what’s true, good and right about myself. I’ve come up with a game plan to help shed some light on what I tend to keep in the dark. Here are a few things I hope to do going forward:

  1. Cut myself some slack.

I’m not perfect now and I’m not going to be later. I’m a work in progress and it’s a process I can trust because God has promised to complete it.

  1. Concentrate more on the solution than the problem.

I can’t undo what’s been done, but I can acknowledge what should be done going forward. God’s mercies are new every morning and in each moment we can decide to do it differently. When I realize there’s a problem, the wise thing to do is address the problem, make a decision and let that be where my mind focuses.

  1. Confess quickly.

When something does go wrong or not as intended, be willing to acknowledge the problem, accept responsibility as needed, ask for and offer forgiveness to both others involved as well as myself. The longer I hold onto things, the more ammunition I have against myself. God forgives quickly when we confess and repent and doesn’t hold anything against us. The sooner we can get the junk out of us, the sooner God can grow something beautiful in us.

Something to Consider…

How do you see yourself? Are you fair with yourself or do you let your own expectations weigh you down? Do you need to cut yourself some slack understanding that you are still growing and learning?

Do you tend to focus more on what’s gone wrong and how you messed up all the while looking back and feeling stuck or do you concentrate more on what’s good, right, lovely and true while moving forward?

Are you able to acknowledge problems quickly and let go or do you need to bring some issues out into the light so you can be free of the hold they have on you?

God’s heart for you is good. Let Him have room in you to move: growing, changing and transforming you into the person He created you to be. Learn to enjoy the process He has started.

A Wise Leader (Part 1)

© Depositphotos.com/ robertprzybysz

© Depositphotos.com/
robertprzybysz

This is a multi-part blog based on my experience of learning to ask for, receive and accept feedback.

Love and truth form a good leader; sound leadership is founded on loving integrity. Proverbs 20:28 (The Message)

I’m involved in a two-year leadership program at my church. It’s been both challenging and rewarding as we learn about leadership characteristics, church history and movements, and ultimately, what it means to be a Christ follower leading with a servant’s heart. We also break into smaller discipleship groups and talk specifically about what God is doing in our lives, how He’s teaching, loving and caring for us, as well as using us to show His love and compassion to others. Each week we set ourselves aside and soak up what the speaker has to say, what God wants us to hear and how we can move more freely in what He wants us to do. It’s truly a great opportunity to come alongside others who want to be living fully in God’s presence specifically in an area of leadership, wherever that may be.

Whoever heeds life-giving correction will be at home among the wise. Proverbs 15:31 (NIV)

A few weeks ago we heard a talk about feedback versus criticism (delivered by my wonderful husband, Craig, by the way). I admit this has been a very difficult place for me. I hear through the lens of criticism most of the time. I’ve realized over the last two years that I do not trust many people and even those I trust most, I am still hesitant with in certain situations and with certain topics. I don’t expect others to think the best of me. I also expect to be sacrificed for the sake of others.

God’s love, and the way we are to love each other, is a sacrificial love. It’s a love that gives, serves and even dies for another. But this sacrificial love requires a willingness on the part of the one sacrificing. It is a choice to put yourself in front of an issue and take a stand understanding the risk versus someone taking a step back or no step at all and putting you out in front to take the brunt of the problem.

What I’ve come to understand and am learning to accept is that God is my protection regardless if I’m “sacrificed” by my own choice or the decision of others. Regardless of what comes at me or what I’m thrown into, God has my back. He loves me unconditionally and I am safe, accepted, protected, and loved simply because I trust Him to do so. He is the One through whom all blessings flow, all good things come and He will never leave me to figure things out on my own. He’s in it with me. I just need to trust and obey.

So, back to the point of my message … feedback and criticism.

We were tasked with sending out a review to people who are over, under and next to us. In other words, those who we answer to in our work or volunteering, those we work or serve alongside and those who answer to us in some role or have experienced us as leaders. This can include at work, at church, in ministry, volunteering, family and even friends. (i.e., my husband and I are part of a small group and we’ve organized many functions together. They know how I operate in a group setting working together to accomplish a common goal.)

After I sent the survey, the first thing I did was make a list of every negative thing people could say so that nothing would surprise me. This way, maybe it wouldn’t hurt so bad to actually hear what a failure I’ve been. The next thing was to go through the list of rated questions and rate myself. I don’t know that I would actually recommend doing either of these things, but it’s just the truth of what I did at the time.

We received our responses this week. In my next blogs I’d like to share a few things I learned about myself and others through this process. For now, I wonder if you’d be willing to consider a few questions yourself.

Something to Consider…

  1. Do you understand the difference between feedback and criticism? Here is a simple definition of each:

Criticism – to find or point out fault

Feedback – to give evaluative or corrective information

Criticism tells you what you did wrong. Feedback helps you move forward. In The 360 Degree Leader, John Maxwell addresses this topic. I highly encourage you to check out this book if you are interested in growing as a leader.

  1. How well do you do at giving and receiving feedback? Do you dread hearing what others have to say about your quality of work or your ability to respond and interact with others? Or do you welcome counsel and advice about how to improve your skills both practically and relationally?
  2. How might God want to grow you in this area? How might God want to use you to help others grow in this area?