Top Ten Reasons Leaders Ignore Feedback
When YOU give others feedback, it’s brilliant, caring, and helpful. When THEY give you feedback, it’s irrelevant, uncaring, and unhelpful.
It’s interesting that your feedback is right, but their feedback is off base.
Top ten reason leaders ignore feedback:
- Others don’t really understand the pressures and stresses you feel.
- You’re too busy to care what others think.
- People are trying to change who your really are.
- Years of experience have made you smarter than everyone else.
- People giving feedback are trying to make their own lives easier.
- You’re more successful than the people giving you feedback.
- The people giving feedback have too many issues of their own.
- You’re older and wiser.
- Your position means you don’t need feedback anymore.
- They don’t give feedback the “right” way.
Most people aren’t qualified to give feedback. At least it seems that way.
Nine ways to receive feedback like a leader:
- Assume there’s a grain of truth in the uncomfortable feedback you receive.
- The two word response to feedback is always, “Thank you.” (Even if it’s obviously off base.)
- Don’t say, “Yes, but.”
- Lean in and say, “Tell me more. Go with, not against.”
- Don’t make excuses or offer explanations.
- Ask, “Could I have some time to think this over?” (If it’s hard to take.)
- Ask for examples.
- Invite feedback in the moment. “When you see me engaging in this ineffective behavior, would you point it out in the moment?”
- Turn toward the future. “What behaviors would reflect progress?”
Feedback often includes interpretation. “You’re angry, aggressive, uncaring, or dragging your feet.”
Useful feedback requires observation.
If someone gives you judgement, ask for observation. “What am I doing, that makes you think I’m detached?”
What makes feedback hard to take?
How can leaders give effective feedback?
Excellent points! When I was in a management role, I often found myself in the “yes but” mode. No matter your position, management, front line staff, executive suite…feedback is hard to hear. I’ve tried to adopt a mindset of feedback being a thoughtful gift to help things improve. Thanks for your insight Dan!
Excellent article and suggestions on receiving feedback. The top 10 reasons to ignore feedback remind me of self-protection and defensiveness. Never trust my first reaction and lean into seeking more feedback as listed in the 9 ways to accept feedback. Providing good feedback is one of the most caring thing a person can do. Receiving it and learning from it is a gift.
I think pride is what hold us back from accepting and engaging in feedback we are given. It’s tough to hear that you are not doing something right, especially when you thought that you were; however, extending trust that the feedback is being given because said person cares about you and wants you to succeed can often help ease the initial blow and help us see that grain (or boulder) of truth!
I like “please, tell me when you see that (behavior) in me…” It helps confirm and clarify the feedback. Working from the same understanding is essential, and that often takes a gentle probing question. BTW it also demonstrates interest/confirmation of the feedback message.
Truth be told, some days I’m not ready for feedback! So there’s s self discipline component too.
I particularly like your concluding section Seek Clarity: “If someone gives you judgement, ask for observation.” This is great advice for receiving feedback, but also a helpful reminder in giving feedback.
People do so much better when feedback involves a description of concrete behaviors or actions that are within their control and can be changed. I CAN’T change your judgement about me, but I CAN change my behavior that is driving your judgement.
Ok I like that, I can’t change your judgement about me, but I can change MY behavior that is driving your judgement. WOW thanks.
We need to keep the channels open, “learn to be humble and kind”, yet stand up and shout when needed.
Actions will always speak louder than words.
Let your actions lead the way and your words cut the pathway.
The only time feedback has been difficult for me (either giving or receiving) has been when judgement has been made before the convo/dialogue has been initiated. If it has, then it is not feedback … it is intervention, which has a whole “n’other” set of rules…
Tim’s imperative, “keep the channels open,” (before AND after) is the only “way” it can work; you have to ascertain that the motive (call it “a strategic imperative”) is, in fact, the same – or trust doesn’t exist, and therefore the feedback is suspect.
Not knowing if the feedback is genuine or whether someone is trying to get back at you. Sometimes people who like you give positive feedback only because they don’t want to upset you while those who don’t like you will not hesitate to give negative feedback.
This was very helpful. Thank you very much
Excellent! Simple and doable!
Good list to act on when people approach with comments & complaints