I carry around a Blockbuster card in my wallet.

It’s not because I’m nostalgic. There are two main reasons.

Firstly, I like to see the confused look on a person’s face when they catch a glimpse of it at the checkout.

More importantly, it’s a relic that reminds me of the consequences of refusing to grow, change and adapt.

Growth is central to the leadership journey. You can’t lead if you won’t grow but you won’t grow if you can’t face feedback.

In a study of over 50,000 executives, leadership consultancy Zenger/Folkman found that leaders who ranked in the bottom 10 percent in asking for feedback (meaning they asked for feedback less than 90 percent of their peers) were rated in the 15th percentile in overall leadership effectiveness. In contrast those who ranked in the top 10 percent in asking for feedback were rated in the 86th percentile in overall leadership effectiveness.

A seasoned athlete knows that it’s feedback that helps them shift from amateur to pro and a leader knows that it’s feedback that helps them shift from good to remarkable.

We hear a lot about what to do when you’re on the delivery side of feedback, which is important. But perhaps equally as important is knowing how to be on the receiving end of it.

In my next short series ‘Facing Feedback’ we’re going to talk about how to receive feedback like a pro. To start you’re going to need to receive some.

Feedback is less likely to be a shock to you when it’s initiated by you.

Start by asking someone you trust.

Here are a few simple questions you can ask to initiate the conversation:

  • What do you see that I could be doing different that would help me be more effective in my role?
  • What could I do more/less of to support you or the team better?
  • What do I really need to hear right now to help me grow?

A final question to reflect on this week.
“Do I have a regular practice of initiating feedback?”

If the answer is yes – what role does this feedback play in my leadership?
If the answer is no – what is getting in the way of creating this practice?