Feedback is a two-way street.

As a leader, you can’t give feedback and not expect to receive it in return.

The question is, how do you receive it?

Are you only open to feedback from those you report to but not from those who directly report to you?

To foster trust, employees must feel safe having honest conversations with their leaders.

To elevate your emotional intelligenceย quotient(EQ), ask yourself these three self-awareness questions:

1. Have I created a psychologically safe environment where my employees feel comfortable providing feedback?

2. How have I responded to feedback in the past that encourages or discourages my team from speaking to me?

3. What emotion comes up when I am being corrected or provided constructive criticism?

Now let’s consider three self-management and relationship management strategies to help you process feedback:

1.ย ๐๐ซ๐š๐œ๐ญ๐ข๐œ๐ž ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐๐š๐ฎ๐ฌ๐ž – take a deep breath (or several) while someone is giving you feedback. This can help keep you regulate your breathing and calm your nervous system and amygdala (the fight-flight-freeze response) in the brain.

This also allows you to be more present so that you are slower to react but more apt to respond in a more controlled manner.

2.ย ๐‚๐ก๐ž๐œ๐ค ๐˜๐จ๐ฎ๐ซ ๐’๐ญ๐จ๐ซ๐ฒ – What story are you telling yourself when someone provides feedback? Are you filling gaps and making assumptions that could cause you to misinterpret what you hear, which may cause you to be defensive?

Is there a default story that you return to whenever you receive criticism? (I’m an idiot? I do everything wrong? Everyone hates me!)

3. ๐€๐ฌ๐ค ๐‚๐ฅ๐š๐ซ๐ข๐Ÿ๐ฒ๐ข๐ง๐  ๐๐ฎ๐ž๐ฌ๐ญ๐ข๐จ๐ง๐ฌ – to ensure that you understand where the other person is coming from. If they are highlighting a behavior, ask if they wouldn’t mind sharing an example. When asking, lead with curiosity, not an accusation.

This also helps to dispel an inaccurate story you may have played in your mind.

Bonus Tip and Script:
๐๐ซ๐จ๐œ๐ž๐ฌ๐ฌ ๐„๐ฅ๐ฌ๐ž๐ฐ๐ก๐ž๐ซ๐ž – If you have difficulty regulating, limit your speaking, and take notes if you can. When the team member is done, tell them, “Thank you for your time. You’ve given me something to consider and think about. Would you please share one suggestion on what I could have done/or what I can do differently?”

Thank them for their time, and then process the conversation with a trusted partner. This can be a peer, a friend, or a therapist.

If in the past you’ve shut down, become defensive, or weaponized their words, employees will become silent, or worse yet, they talk about you behind your back.