The best boss I ever had told me I was a crappy listener. Those weren’t the exact words he used, but Carlos was always blunt and to-the-point during performance reviews. I was young and confident… and completely surprised to be told I had this failing. After surprise came denial, reluctant acceptance, and finally, a desire to learn to do better.
Twenty-five years later, I recall that discussion with both chagrin and fondness. I’m still not a great listener but I’m a better listener than I was then. And I’ll continue to improve.
Now, as a small business owner, I’m so very fortunate to have a few strong people supporting me who have no fear of telling me when something is not so good. Feedback and advice are both important for doing good work and continuing to improve. Whether it’s what we want to hear or not, honest, thoughtful feedback comes from people who truly care about our success.
Whether you are a new business owner or an experienced pro, invest time in building relationships with other business owners who will support you through good and bad. And for whom you will do the same.