One of the things that I do to give back to the business community, and to my fellow entrepreneurs, is training. I recently gave a presentation at a training day in Gauteng. I really put a lot of time and effort into my presentation. I felt rather good after the session was over. That is until I got my ratings. They weren’t anywhere near my standard.
I must confess that I was rather taken aback by it all. But I’ve since had time to think about it and I realised that leaders are always the ones giving feedback but we so seldom get feedback. And as a result we are often unprepared to handle it. I would even go so far as to say that many leaders fear feedback. But the truth is that feedback is a key element of leadership.
When it comes to handling this kind of feedback, two factors are important. One must look at how others felt – in this case the people I was training – and how you feel. If you haven’t prepared properly and you can admit that your presentation or your work wasn’t up to scratch then it’s understandable that the feedback may not have been positive. In my case, I’d prepared well and after the presentation I felt great. I believed that I’d done a good job. So where did things fall apart?
Looking through the feedback, what I realised was that I didn’t connect with my audience. I may have shared a wealth of useful information but I didn’t successfully get the message across so these insights were totally lost.
How many times have you been looking for something in your cupboard or in the fridge only for someone else to come into the room and spot what you’re searching for immediately? Feedback is a little like this. As business leaders we need to work together to help each other see the things we don’t see and to give useful, practical feedback. Within your business, you need to create a culture that encourages honest, fair feedback. There’s no point in everyone scoring your presentation 10/10 simply because they are worried about how you’ll respond. People mustn’t be afraid to share their thoughts but they must be taught to do in a constructive manner.
If you’d like to learn more about business strategy and leadership, our blog is a good place to start. Or you can have this content delivered straight to your inbox by subscribing to our monthly newsletter below.