How open are you to candid feedback, new perspectives, continuous learning, and self-development?
To be emotionally intelligent requires an accurate understanding of your strengths and weaknesses, powerful reflective practice, and learning from experience. But how do you avoid being like the snooze-inducing lecturer mentioned earlier?
By being open to feedback!
Ten points if you have heard Elaine saying,
The best way to find out where your perception and reality diverge is to ask. Your reflection has probably already picked up on indirect feedback (facial expressions, behaviours etc), so you are prepared for what you will hear. Get into a habit of regularly seeking candid feedback from those around you.
Positive Actions When Receiving Feedback
Feedback comes in all shapes and sizes but how can we ensure that we get the most from it?
- Actively listen – don’t think about what you’re going to say in reply, don’t interrupt, argue, or defend yourself. Do take notice of the non-verbal communication and what is not being said.
- Clarify – ask for clarification if you don’t understand.
- Thank the person for providing feedback.
- Decide if and how the feedback applies to you. You always have a choice. Not all feedback is valid, so you need to critically analyse it and decide whether or not you are going to act on it. Avoid bringing in emotions of good vs bad, positive vs negative.
To get the most out of feedback, you need to be prepared to receive it. A common obstacle is that we too often view feedback as negative, criticism, or even a personal attack. Rather, consider embracing feedback as time to talk about yourself! See it as an opportunity for everything to be about you- in other words, view feedback from a new perspective…
“In all affairs it’s a healthy thing now and then to hang a question mark on the things you have long taken for granted.” - Bertrand Russell
Part of the human condition since the beginning of time is that most of us assign special importance to ourselves. However, doing so prevents us from viewing things from different perspectives which can be detrimental to both our personal and professional lives.
The main barrier to developing new perspectives isn’t intellectual as we have access to more information than ever. It is emotional because we don’t want to challenge our personal beliefs, we don’t want to introduce uncertainty into our lives, and we definitely do not want the heartbreak of acknowledging that we could be absolutely wrong about something we stood for. Aim to be informed, not just opinionated.
Lack of perspective keeps us biased, limits our options, and hinders our ability to make good decisions. It is essential to work on being open to new perspectives. In fact, the right perspective can make the impossible possible.
“The only thing that is constant is change.” - Heraclitus
Fact: If you are stationary, you are actually going backwards as the world is ever evolving.
This is why it is so important to prioritise self-development. Staying as you once were is a sure recipe for disaster because everything and everybody around you is morphing.
Kaizen is a Japanese concept of making small improvements daily which leads to huge life changes for the better. Kai means change, zen means good. Often used in corporate environments, it is an excellent practice to apply in your personal life too. As with most things, a slow and steady approach is better than trying to make sweeping changes occasionally.
Don’t get lackadaisical as you age. Commit now to a lifetime of continuous improvement and learning…
Self-development and personal growth go hand in hand with lifelong learning. In the same way as food nourishes your body, so continued learning nourishes your mind.
“Develop a passion for learning. If you do, you will never cease to grow.” – Anthony J. D’Angelo
The most successful people in the world make learning a top priority and are obsessed with absorbing more and more knowledge – either to help them both master their craft and grow personally. Continuous learning is a vital aspect of acquiring critical thinking skills and discovering new perspectives when relating to people from different cultures.
LinkedIn shares seven career-related reasons why continuous learning is important:
“1. Remain relevant
Don’t be left behind. Ensure you remain relevant to your industry by keeping up to date with trends and adapting your skill set. To function effectively amongst this rapidly changing world of technology, you need to learn new things to remain valuable.
- Prepare for the unexpected
Lifelong learning will help you adapt to unexpected changes, for example, losing your job and having to depend on new skills to find work. By continuing to learn, you’ll more easily step out of your comfort zone and take on new job opportunities.
- Boost you profile
When you’re always learning, you’ll keep improving and grow in your career and start to receive recommendations from colleagues and managers. The chances are that you’ll switch jobs multiple times throughout your life and you need to learn new skills to adapt accordingly.
- Competence leads to confidence
Learning new things gives us a feeling of accomplishment, which in turn boosts our confidence in our own capabilities. Also, you’ll feel more ready to take on challenges and explore new business ventures.
- Sparks new ideas
Acquiring new skills will unveil new opportunities and help you find innovative solutions to problems. This could earn you more money.
- Change your perspective
Continuous learning opens your mind and changes your attitude by building on what you already know. The more you learn, the better you’ll get at seeing more sides of the same situation, helping you understand more deeply.
- Pay it forward
Continuous learning isn’t just about you. Lifelong learning helps develop your leadership skills which then translates into fostering lifelong learning in other individuals, by encouraging them to pursue further education.”
With information at our fingertips, there is no excuse to stop learning. But lifelong learning isn’t only done formally such as training programs or online seminars. Look out for daily actions to improve (kaizen) your knowledge and skills:
- Ask for help when you do not understand something
- Observe those more experienced in a skill
- Try new ways of doing things and explore alternative methods
- Practise what you have already learned.
Let's wrap this lesson up with the quiz below: