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Receiving feedback is a gift – it really is!

The holiday season is upon us, and the exchanging of gifts is one of the core aspects of the holiday. Gifts can be fun and all, but sometimes they are just plain bad and unnecessary. You could probably do without receiving a sweater with a picture of a poodle on it, or a giant hand back scratcher.

Still, there are certain gifts that can serve a long-term benefit. For leaders and managers, receiving feedback can be a gift that keeps on giving.

Yes, you read correctly – feedback is a gift. Before you start to groan and roll your eyes at this thought, hear me out. When done properly, feedback is a powerful professional development tool for leaders and managers.

After all, do you know there are actually two distinct perceptions of you? One is how you see yourself, and the second is how others see you. These views can influence your ability to lead, so it is crucial to find the blind spots between the two views.

For example, you may be great at holding people accountable but bad at setting clear expectations. Feedback gives you the information about your impact on others so that you don’t continue to operate with those pesky blind spots.

One way to gather feedback is through 360 Feedback. Unlike traditional reviews and feedback, 360 Feedbackevaluates job performance based on confidential responses from managers, peers, direct reports, and other stakeholders. Since the opinions are voices anonymously, it encourages a higher level of honesty.

Let’s go back to our “gift” example. Receiving feedback is something you can’t give yourself – self-perception can only go so far. However, if people receive feedback from different sources, they can develop the tools necessary to improve weakness and capitalize on strengths. A person who gives you feedback, whether it is positive or negative, is giving you a gift; so make sure you acknowledge that gift.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind after you receive feedback.

· Try not to take the feedback personally. Be open to what you see and hear.

· Take the time to evaluate the information and consider specific actions for improvement.

· Use feedback to clarify goals and track progress toward goals.

· When you make a decision, get in the habit of considering the impact it will have on the people affected by it.

As you can see, unlike an ugly sweater, feedback is one gift that retains its value.

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