Feedback is a valuable thing for us as leaders. But it also has some drawbacks.
If you build good feedback loops so you gain information on what kind of results you are producing, you can make changes to better achieve your targets. You can adjust your strategy, your methods, and sometimes even your goals to make sure you are producing the ends you set out to achieve.
Potential risks, though: because positive feedback is refreshing, you can get addicted. I personally have found myself at times where I need constant feedback to feel that I have accomplished anything. This is not healthy or sustainable.
When I was in retail, we had daily sales goals. On big days, we would even look at things by the hour. But feedback isn’t that easy to get in a non-retail setting. The first time you do something, you may get praise or critique but after you have done something ten times or more, no one feels a need to tell you whether it was good or not. It is tempting to seek out feedback and want to score yourself every time. But this will drive you down a path of dependence on receiving personal kudos that will keep you from focusing on the more important things in life.
Tips to overcome feedback addiction:
1. Recognize it and choose to work against it. This is the first step to any effort.
2. Bring some accountability into your life. Be honest with your spouse and perhaps a few friends about your recognized need for feedback. Ask them to help you override the mental loops you go through looking for external feelings of success.
3. Recognize that positive feedback doesn’t always mean your goals were achieved. Just because a communication was well delivered and well received doesn’t mean anyone took action based on your request. Some actions actually take years to evaluate effectiveness. Having a long-term viewpoint means you may have to sacrifice short-term celebration of wins.
4. Reflect on God’s heart for you as an individual. He loves you PERIOD. It isn’t about what you do or don’t do. Scripture tells us our works are rags before Him. He doesn’t value us based on feedback or external measures of success. Neither should we.
If you have dealt with similar challenges, what methods have you found to work on this?