Monica Rougeau

HURT SO GOOD: The Gift of Constructive Feedback

As I was reflecting on what might be helpful to share this month, a song from my younger days kept coming to mind—John “Cougar” Mellencamp’s “Hurt So Good.” This song resonates with me when I think about feedback. Constructive feedback is a gift to us as leaders. It’s something we need to become more effective and to better serve those we are called to lead. However, feedback can be one of those gifts that feels a little uncomfortable to receive, much like the paradox from the song—it hurts, and yet, it’s good for us.

Feedback is essential, but how do we wrap our heads around its importance, how to provide it effectively, and how to receive it graciously?

The Power of Honest Feedback

This also reminds me of an experience from several years ago when I was facilitating a workshop/retreat for priests from various areas of the country. Towards the end of our time, one of the participants approached me calmly and said he needed to give me some feedback. I braced myself, knowing that it was likely going to be true constructive feedback and not the typical superficial, generic compliments we often get. It might be hard to hear and yet, I knew it would be beneficial for my own growth.

You see, I had this habit of checking in with my audience by asking, “Does that make sense?” From my perspective, this was a way to ensure clarity and that I wasn’t losing anyone with my delivery style. However, this participant, who is extremely intelligent and has a different communication style, pointed out that this question could come across as condescending, as if I doubted their intellectual capacity.

This was hard for me to hear. I had no intention of making anyone feel inferior, but we all have blind spots. His courage to provide this feedback, knowing it might be difficult for me to receive, was invaluable. We had built enough trust during the course of our time together for him to share this insight, and I appreciated the gift that it was because I knew he was delivering it out of love.

To this day, I no longer use that question -or- if it does slip out, I quickly catch myself and reframe it.

The Importance of Seeking Feedback

What I’ve learned is that the more you ask for feedback, the more effective you become. Leaders who actively seek feedback are significantly more effective. In a study of leadership effectiveness involving almost 52,000 executives, there was a strong correlation between the tendency to seek feedback and their effectiveness as leaders. It’s such a simple yet powerful tool for growth. We cannot see our own blind spots. How are you being a mirror for others and asking others to do the same for you?

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Embrace the Gift of Feedback

Feedback might not always be easy to hear, but it’s a crucial part of leadership growth. By embracing feedback with an open mind and a willingness to learn, we can become more effective leaders and better servants to those we lead. Remember, it’s not just about receiving feedback but also about giving it in a way that fosters growth and improvement.

So next time you receive feedback that stings a little, think back to that old song from the 80s and remember: it might hurt, and yet it’s good for us. Embrace the discomfort, and let it drive you to become the best leader you can be.

Your Feedback Matters To Me

Now, I’d love to hear from you. What topics would you find most helpful in your journey as a leader? What challenges are you facing that you’d like to see addressed? Your feedback is invaluable to me and helps me serve you better. Please share your thoughts and suggestions—I’m eager to gain insights from you to better support your growth as a leader. Let’s continue this journey together.

Click HERE or on the CONTACT button above to share your constructive feedback.


Charisms & Culture: A Retreat Style Workshop for Parishes & Pastors

Elevare’s ‘Charisms & Culture’ workshop revitalizes parishes and empowers pastors for dynamic community growth.