Why Successful People Seek Feedback Even If It Hurts
Feedback can be confronting, especially when you hear something about yourself you don’t want to hear. Successful people seek feedback all the time even if it hurts. Here’s why.
Have you ever walked into a maze? It can be confusing. This way or that? You decide to go in one direction and find yourself at a dead end. If you are living your life in a maze, it could be a major barrier to success. Do what successful people do, and seek immediate feedback – it might be your only escape.
Successful people and outstanding business leaders consistently seek feedback as to what their blind spots are. It empowers them to develop the skills of self-leadership, self-awareness, and self-management all of which contribute to their success.
Some people spend their life in a maze where they become so lost in their own little world, they find it difficult to discover a way forward. Often, they don’t realize they’re lost, until someone points it out to them and puts them on the right track.
When you become lost in a metaphorical maze and don’t know what the solution is, it’s usually because you haven’t yet mastered any form of self-reflection. Like most people, you have blind spots you are unaware of.
A blind spot is something others know and see in your behavior you can’t see yourself. It might be something as simple as having one bad habit you are oblivious to that stunts your growth. It could be you’re a poor leader or manager and have no concept of how your employees view you. Perhaps you are a lousy spouse or parent and have no idea how you are contributing to a breakdown in the relationship. Possibly it could be that your peers at work don’t like working with you, therefore, inhibiting your career opportunities and you have no concept this is happening. What would it mean to receive this kind of feedback even if it hurts?
You can’t change a habit you’re not aware of. If you are serious about finding your way out of a metaphorical maze and identify an exit strategy, it‘s worthwhile looking at the Johari Window to build momentum and get the results you want.
The Johari Window
The Johari Window is a graphic communication model that is used to improve understanding between individuals. The word “Johari” is taken from the names of Joseph Luft and Harry Ingham, who developed the model in 1955. There are two key ideas behind The Johari Window: You can build trust with significant others by disclosing information about yourself. With the help of feedback from others, you can learn more about yourself, identify your blind spots, and come to terms with personal issues or habits that are stunting your growth.
Using the maze analogy, the Johari Window model is a way of discovering where you currently are, how you got lost, and forging a way forward that fulfills your hopes and dreams. It gives you a starting point to start building momentum you need to make changes that will significantly impact your future self.
The Four Quadrants
The Johari Window has four quadrants that represent four combinations:
- Open Space: Things that are known to you and known to others;
- Blind Spot: Things that are not known to you but known to others;
- Hidden Area: Things that are known to yourself but unknown to others; and
- Unknown Area: Things that are unknown to you and unknown to others.
The open space represents anything that is known to you and known to others. It’s everything that is public including your behavior, attitude, skill sets, strengths, and weaknesses for example.
The blind spot is a specific trait, behavior, or talent that’s known to others, but you can’t see it for yourself. It can be positive or negative, called the blind spot because you are completely unaware of how others see you or what they think of you or what your hidden talents and abilities are.
The hidden area includes all the secrets known to you but not known to others. These are the feelings, emotions, and ideas for example that you keep hidden from others.
The unknown area is all the things not known to you and also not known to others. It could be new opportunities and scope for future development or hidden talents you are unaware of plus any threats and uncertainties.
The unknown area could also be a result of trauma and experience which can be unknown for a lifetime. Until you discover hidden talents and abilities through self-discovery, experimentation, and feedback from others, your talents and abilities could remain hidden forever.
Self-Discovery is key to success
To develop the skills of self-leadership, self-awareness, and self-management, recognizing your blind spots is the first step in self-discovery leading to transformational change. Using the Johari Window model is an effective tool to uncover what others know about you that you don’t know about yourself.
While it can be confronting, it can also become very enlightening as you learn to develop emotional intelligence, the key to personal and professional success. Once you have identified your blind spots, it empowers you to make positive changes for the future and gives you the momentum you need to get the results you want.
The quickest way to uncover your blind spots is to seek feedback from others.
In seeking feedback, the simple thing to do is ask friends, family colleagues, your boss, coach, or mentor what your blind spots are as confronting as this may be. If you do, you must be willing to accept their feedback without recrimination or judgment even if it hurts.
To receive feedback effectively, you must listen without interruption and without discussion other than to ask for clarification of a certain point. The purpose is NOT to engage in a debate as to its validity. After all, you are seeking feedback on how “others” see you not how you want to be seen by others. If you engage in a debate, this negates the feedback and invalidates the purpose which is to uncover any blind spots you might have.
Just take the feedback on board and mull it over until it becomes an ah-ha moment. If possible, use a personal coach or mentor to help you decipher the feedback in a constructive manner.
Feedback is the breakfast of champions
Once you have received the feedback, say thank you. Feedback is a gift. It is the breakfast of champions.
Remember, not all feedback can be negative. You can always ask the question, “What strengths, talents, and abilities do you see in me?” You might be surprised by the answer, it could be lifechanging.
If you are serious about taking control of your future and getting the results you want, it’s critical you uncover your blind spots, both positive and negative. You might uncover more of the hidden elements of the Johari Window.
On a Final Note
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