You Can’t Handle The Truth: Receiving Feedback From Your Team

April 18, 2013

What does you your team really think about you? Are you as popular as you think? Do they regard you as an effective manager? Do they find you an inspirational leader?

If you could find out you might be surprised what you learn. One of the best ways to find out is to hold an anonymous 360o degree feedback survey. This is less intimidating for those giving the feedback. Alternatively asking individuals as part of a regular review process can make it less threatening.

Whichever method you use, you need to be ready to receive it. In this article we provide some tips for receiving feedback from your team.

Keep An Open Mind

This is so important. If you decide that you might not like what you hear, then you will probably be right! If you look for the bad points you will find them. The idea is to have an attitude where you are grateful for the opportunity to have some genuine and honest feedback. Most employees tell their boss what they think they want to hear but not what they should hear.

Look For The Positives

Recognise first of all the positive areas that your team members confirm that they like about you. This is a good way to boost your self-esteem before hearing about possible development areas. It is natural to only worry about the negative areas. If you receive nine positive comments and one potentially negative one we guarantee you will zoom in on that one negative. So remember to register and recognise what you are doing well.

Really Listen

Stephen Covey said that most of us don’t listen properly with many of us only being selective in what we hear! Keep your focus firmly on what your colleague is saying. Rather than over analysing what has been said keep eye contact and you are more likely to spot vital body language signals.

Thank Them For Their Honesty

In order to encourage your team to be honest and give you genuine feedback it makes sense to thank them. Most people will repeat what they are praised and recognised for. Making the person feel comfortable is more likely to help them relax and help them to feel they can open up. Generating an attitude of openness and honesty in the team creates mutual respect and an atmosphere where people feel they can talk openly about issues.

Do Something With It!

Once you have received the feedback from your team, show them that you were listening. The best way to do this is to act upon what your team members have told you. If you find out that one of your behaviours causes issues for people, make an effort to change this behaviour. Awareness is the first step to making change. In our experience just by becoming aware of our ‘blind spot’ we are able to make a conscious effort to change it.

We hope these top tips have helped. One final technique which might be worth using is called ‘speed feedback’. Set up a team meeting, ideally offsite where you can organise some team building. Like speed dating everybody in the team will be spending just a few minutes giving feedback to a colleague.  Make sure that people start with the positive and limit any negative areas to one of two areas at most. Be strict on time and tell your team that the intention is to increase self-awareness including your own. In our experience this can be very powerful and helps people to really appreciate their team colleagues.

Many thanks

Scott Rumsey

Senior Management Trainer & Consultant at MTD Training

(Image by Stuart Miles at

Back To Blog Home