The Feedback We Need

Sally Smith is the CEO of the popular Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant chain. Earlier this year, she was asked, “What are some things you’ve learned about leading and managing people?” Her response is helpful:

I’m always seeking feedback. My leadership team does a performance review on me each year for the board. It’s anonymous. They can talk about my management style or things I need to work on. If you want to continue growing, you have to be willing to say, “What do I need to get better at?” That’s how I learn. That’s how I get better. Getting feedback [as a leader] is really tough. You may be able to find a couple of people in the company who will give you honest feedback. Before we even did performance reviews, I used to go to [one of our key leaders] and say, “I want you to write down four things that I need to work on next year.”

As someone who loathes criticism, taking on this kind of feedback seems daunting… even frightening. However, doesn’t the cross already criticize me more than any else? I needed Jesus to DIE for my sinful condition. Whatever anyone could say negatively about me, it’s worse! Yet, at the same time, doesn’t the cross tell me that I now am fully forgiven, perfectly accepted and dearly and eternally loved? So, with Jesus as my only righteousness, I can have confidence to pursue, receive and appreciate constructive feedback! Who is doing this for me? What about for you? A friend at work? A spouse- yikes! My children?

I think this could be a great way not only to mature as a husband, father, pastor and preacher, but also as a way to grow more deeply at rest in the gospel, because that is what feedback ultimately does—drives us to Jesus as my sin-bearer, righteousness provider, and change enabler as his Spirit works in and through me as I abide in him.

Source: Adam Bryant, “Curiosity is a cornerstone of growth,”International New York Times (12-15-14)