You want to grow your leadership skills? Beg for feedback! Solicit feedback from your coworkers, your boss, your subordinates, your customers, the people you socially interact with… Request unfiltered, brutally honest feedback. Get the full truth.
Now — the full truth often hurts. We hear things we don’t like hearing. We take things personally (and sometimes they are delivered in a way which is personal). And often — the more feedback hurts, the closer it is to the truth.
When you receive feedback, thank the person who gave you feedback first. They just gave you a huge gift — they told you something which you can use to become better at what you’re doing and become a better person in general. Then distance yourself emotionally from the feedback given. It is not a judgment about you as a person but merely a reflection of how you acted in a specific situation or context. Dissect it like a surgeon. Filter through the (sometimes present) noise and identify the core of the feedback (it’s often not the thing we get told but a much deeper, underlying issue). Reflect on it and determine for yourself if you agree or disagree (detached from your emotion — this is a factual observation). Sometimes you will disagree and put the feedback to the side (which is fine — not all feedback is something you need or want to take to heart). And often times you will find a kernel of truth which will make you think about the situation or context differently.
Now play out in your head how you would have tackled the situation differently based on the feedback you just processed. What you’re doing here is to effectively build new neuro-pathways. You train your brain to act differently the next time the situation occurs. It’s what athletes call “visualization”.
In no time you will have incorporated a behavior change into your life, become a better leader, partner, entrepreneur… And beware: It’s addictive. Quickly you will beg for feedback! :)