Feedback can be very powerful. Those who look for and accept it position themselves to be more competent and capable. Those who resist, reject, or avoid it doom themselves to the limitations of their own personal insights—which may be right or wrong, but they will never know. They fail to see the power in feedback.
Without feedback we are flying blind. Others see things we can’t see. In performance assessments designed to measure individual effectiveness, it has been found that those who are the least effective at accurately predicting their strengths and weaknesses are the individuals themselves.
In an assessment looking at over 1,000 managers, we asked direct reports if their managers actively looked for opportunities to get feedback. Only 16 percent of managers had consensus from their teams that “actively looking for feedback” was a strength. Of 49 items assessing effectiveness, this item was one of the most negative. In another survey, we asked thousands of people if they regularly received feedback on their performance. Almost half of the respondents (46 percent) answered the question negatively or neutrally. Most people do not feel they lack feedback from others on how they could improve their performance at work, how they could be a better parent, how they could be a more considerate and caring spouse or friend, or simply how they could become a better person. For many people, the typical reaction to new feedback is to say, “So what, I’m too busy to do anything ...