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Receiving Feedback: Make It Your Superpower


We gained a remarkable insight during a recent conversation with a highly regarded Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO), who has a strong track record of successfully building exceptional leadership and HR teams and winning cultures for globally renowned multinational companies. Despite holding senior HR leadership roles for over three decades, she now reports to a CEO with an exceptional ability to provide constructive feedback. The feedback has been received positively, and the CHRO feels a renewed sense of purpose, meaning, and energy.

While feedback is crucial to personal and professional growth, senior professionals often receive less frequent and less constructive feedback as they progress in their careers. Senior leaders are typically experienced individuals who have spent years building their expertise in their respective fields. However, this does not mean they are infallible, and feedback can help them identify areas where they can improve. This feedback can come from a variety of sources, including employees, peers, and mentors.

Helen Snowball, CPO of PropertyGuru, shares her thoughts on receiving feedback in a senior role: “As leaders, regardless of our seniority or level, my view is we are forever learning and growing – I thrive on feedback, the good and the more constructive. I believe if people care enough to give, then I should care enough to both listen and act.”

Accepting feedback can be challenging, especially for senior leaders who have reached the pinnacle of their careers. Senior leaders may be used to being in control and may feel uncomfortable receiving criticism or suggestions from others. Several factors can contribute to an aversion to feedback, including an overestimation of our capabilities or a fear of acknowledging our flaws and areas for improvement. As we become more experienced in our field, we may feel that we know what we are doing and that criticism is unwarranted. However, it is important for leaders to remember that feedback is not a sign of weakness but rather a tool for growth and improvement. Therefore, senior leaders must embrace it to improve themselves and their worth. This conversation underscored the CHRO’s growth mindset and superpower in receiving feedback to continue developing as an individual. 

For me the art is not “what” feedback is provided, but rather “how” it is delivered that drives impact.

Helen Snowball, CPO of PropertyGuru

To make feedback more effective, senior leaders should create a safe and supportive environment for employees to share their thoughts and opinions. Leaders can do this by actively inviting and listening to feedback, acknowledging the validity of the feedback, and taking action to address any issues raised. It’s also important for leaders to follow up with employees to show that their feedback is appreciated and taken seriously. 

Here are some tips for doing that:

Create a Culture of Feedback

Creating a culture of feedback involves modelling a willingness to receive and act on feedback. We can set an example for others by encouraging regular and constructive feedback. We should approach input with an open mind, listen carefully to gain a deeper understanding, acknowledge our mistakes, and take responsibility for our actions.

The culture of our organization is ‘building a great place to work, where everyone feels respected, valued and invested in’ – feedback is a key component of it!

Julie Zhu, Vice President, HR Director of Global Sales & Marketing, Texas Instruments

Be Open to Feedback

We must approach feedback with an open mind, listen carefully to gain a deeper understanding, acknowledge our mistakes, and take responsibility for our actions. Doing so can show our colleagues that we are committed to continuous improvement.

Seek Feedback

We don’t always have to wait for feedback to come to us — as senior professionals, we can take the initiative to seek feedback from our colleagues, clients, and direct reports and teams. We gain valuable insights by proactively soliciting feedback on areas in our blind spots and where we have room for growth. In addition, we demonstrate to others that we are committed to learning and improving our leadership and environment.

Encourage Anonymous Feedback

Sometimes employees may feel hesitant to provide feedback openly, especially if they fear retaliation. Encouraging anonymous feedback can help employees feel more comfortable sharing their honest opinions.

Use Technology

Technology can help facilitate feedback and make it easier to collect and analyse. Tools like surveys, 360 feedback software, and communication platforms can make gathering feedback and tracking progress easier.

Act on Feedback

Receiving feedback is only the first step; to truly benefit from feedback, we must act on it. We should create a plan for addressing the feedback we receive and follow through on that plan. By doing so, we can demonstrate that we take feedback seriously and that we are committed to making positive changes.

In conclusion, feedback is critical for senior leaders to continue growing and improving their leadership skills. Senior professionals must embrace feedback as a tool for growth and improvement. By actively seeking feedback, leaders can gain perspective, make better-informed decisions, and build stronger relationships with their team members. While it may be challenging at first, embracing feedback can lead to long-term success for both the organization and its leaders. Start seeing it as advice rather than criticism. Ask yourself what value you can pull from it. By creating a culture of feedback, being open to it, asking for it, and following up on it, we can lead by example and inspire others to do the same. Through this approach, we can continue to develop as individuals and leaders and achieve even greater success in our careers.


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