June 10, 2017

Don’t Run Away from Feedback!

Philip Baptiste, East-Central Africa Division

I used to be afraid of feedback.

I remember that when I was a youth pastor, there were times when my senior pastor would call me up and say, “We need to talk.”

I would try to find every excuse to put that meeting off. I knew that he was probably going to say something negative like, “How come you're always late in coming to meetings?” or any other comment not necessarily positive.

As I've grown, however, I've learned that feedback can be one of the best ways to help you grow. So now, I don't wait for a supervisor or boss to give me feedback; I've actually learned to invite it.

No matter where you serve or your sphere of influence, here is a leadership tip for you—Don’t run away from feedback!

I ask, “How am I doing in my role?” and, “What can I do to grow?”

Every leader needs communication flowing in two ways. First you need to be willing to receive feedback, and secondly, you need to be prepared to give it.

Two Simple Questions

There are two questions that I ask whenever I want to invite someone to give feedback. I may sit down with a departmental director or a person that I have the privilege mentoring or leading, and I ask them two simple questions.

Question #1—How are you doing?

Question #2—What can I do to help?

As a pastor, I would sit down with my departmental directors and ask, “Hey, how are you doing? How are you doing as a youth leader?” And then, “What can I do to help?”

These two questions can go both ways. So, if you are the leader, sit down with your team members one by one and ask them those questions, “How are you doing?” and, “What can I do to help?”

At the same time, even as a leader, from time to time, I've learned to invite feedback. I sit down with my president or with my superiors, and I reverse the question. I ask, “How am I doing in my role?” and, “What can I do to grow?”

If you ask these questions, by God's grace, you will be able to grow and become the leader God wants you to be. After all, even Jesus asked his disciples, “Who do men say that I am?” That's welcoming feedback even if, unlike ourselves, Jesus wasn't trying to learn how to do better.

So let's invite and welcome feedback. Don't run from it. Feedback can help you grow. In particular, seek to get God's feedback daily through prayer, so that you can learn to lead and communicate like Jesus!