Ask and You Shall Receive

September 10, 2021 | Iowa's Ongoing Manufacturing Workforce Shortage Shannon Tuhn, Operations Director, CLA (CliftonLarsonAllen LLP),

Q. How do you know if you are making a positive impact or bringing value to your team?

A. Ask them. One of the things I am most grateful for at CLA is the focus on feedback. Sure, results are proof that actions have gotten you to a goal, but they don’t tell you how you got there. If meeting goals, but reaching them with a disengaged, unfulfilled team, odds are you won’t be reaching many more goals.

If positioned in a sincere effort for self-improvement, asking for feedback can result in some of the most powerful professional development. A great way to position the ask is in a “start, stop, and continue” framework. This way you’re helping give team members (who may be uncomfortable with giving feedback) a starting point for their thoughts.

Be prepared for the answers. The most important part of feedback is hearing it. Consider the feedback a gift regardless of whether it stings a little. That individual has given you something that you didn’t have before and can now address. When I was a new executive, I didn’t realize that getting some tough, constructive feedback wasn’t a failure. It was rather among the most monumental moments of my career. I’ve also learned that you often have to ask for it. It’s seldom handed to you.

Give it a shot! Challenge yourself to ask at least three people you lead what they recommend you 1) start doing, 2) stop doing, and 3) continue doing. Then, listen, and learn.