Feedback is a fantastic way to help you understand yourself. You can reflect on what you do and look for the listens that emerge but feedback will enlighten you to what you can’t see about yourself. Feedback can shed light on your blind spots.

Feedback can come in the form of interviews, behavioural and other assessments, 360 degree surveys, to name a few.

Often triggering dread, feedback will reveal not just areas for consideration for you to improve or develop, it will also reveal strengths you may not realise you have.

As Peter F Drucker, management guru, in his all-time classic Managing Oneself, says, 

“Most people think they know what they are good at. They are usually wrong. More often, people know what they are not good at – and even then more people are wrong than right. And yet, a person can perform only from strength.”

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of assessment tools you can use to help give you feedback, I’m accredited to administer my fair share of them and happy to discuss them with you if that interests you. A deeper and richer exploration into the feedback process would include a conversation. If you undertake a form assessment with me, we will have a thorough debrief – a conversation – this is where the insights and applications can come alive.

Here’s a simple exercise you might like to try that doesn’t need any formal assessment process. It’s an extension an old legacy building exercise.

Step One – Speech

Imagine you’re retiring and you most trusted and dearest work colleague is tasked with giving your farewell speech. What would you like your friend to say about you? Not what you think they will say, it’s what you want them to say.

Step Two – Feedback

Email 5-6 people asking for feedback: “I’m participating in a self-assessment activity and would like to know five words you feel best describe me.”

Once you receive responses, if any words surprise you or don’t make sense ask them about the choice of word/s, reassure them it’s just so you understand why they used those words. Listen, don’t argue or defend, simply listen, ask for further explanation if you need it, and then thank them.

Step Three – Compare

Compare all the words your contacts provided with the words you used in your speech.

Which ones matched and which ones didn’t?

Now look for the gaps: essentially the gap between what your contacts said and how you want to be seen or perceived by others.

With amplified self-awareness, you’re best placed to work on those elements that will help strengthen your self-leadership. And in the words of one of the world’s leading social forecasters….

The cornerstone of effective leadership is self-mastery.

Patricia Aburdene

Have a go at the exercise, and please do let me know how you get on.

What surprised you from the exercise, from the feedback?