feedback helps you grow

4 Ways I’ve Grown From Listening to Critical Feedback

Ken Blanchard said, “Feedback is the breakfast of champions.” I’ve learned from experience that feedback helps you grow. The people who grow often do so because they seek honest feedback from those around them.

Whether in business, ministry, or any leadership role, how do you handle feedback? In my experience, feedback isn’t always easy to hear—but it’s always necessary. Here are 4 ways I’ve grown from listening to critical feedback.

1. I pay more attention to my facial expressions.

Sometimes I look like I’m mad when I’m not—some people call that HRF, or “hostile resting face.” But it’s not my standard practice to walk around mad at people. If my face is contorted, it’s likely because I’m processing my reply to a question or thinking about a new idea. But I’ve learned from others that my face and my mind sometimes say two different things. Knowing this, I try to guard against letting my facial expression say something I’m not saying.

Make it a habit to show gratitude for the people around you often.

2. I express appreciation more often.

I haven’t always been known for showing gratitude. I may be grateful, but I might not speak up and express it. But, after receiving this feedback, I’ve made it a practice at Family First to share what we call “shoutouts.” Every Monday morning, our entire team has an opportunity to take a moment to express gratitude and give compliments to coworkers who have done good work. This not only helps our team feel good about a job well done, but it also helps everyone—including myself—express appreciation. Build appreciation into your schedule. Make it a habit to show gratitude for the people around you often.

3. I’m more aware of my tone.

Akin to facial expressions, another way feedback has helped me grow relates to watching my tone. Sometimes my tone of voice can be condescending, and I don’t intend it to be. Often, as a leader, it’s not what you say but how you say it that does damage. Be vigilant not only to use the right words but to speak kindly and respectfully with a fitting tone for the occasion.

4. I’m more patient than I used to be.

The feedback that helps you grow the most will come from those closest to you. Once, my son and I were in line at the grocery store. The cashier wasn’t moving as quickly as I’d hoped. I grew impatient and said, “Do you need some help?” The words weren’t all that negative. But the fact that I said anything was enough to put my impatience on display.

My son didn’t say anything in line. But in the car, he let me know he noticed my frustration. My first thought was, “I was not frustrated; she was just taking forever.” But I caught myself and replied, “You’re right. I was impatient and shouldn’t have talked down to the cashier like that.” It was tough to admit my impatience to my son. But without his feedback, I might never have become aware of what I had done—and I might not have grown.

Sound off: We know feedback helps you grow. What is the most valuable feedback you’ve ever gotten?

Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What is the toughest feedback you have ever received?”