The Leader Who Got Feedback And Lived To Tell About It

13 May

It used to be we thought leaders were the smart ones. They had all the answers. They were the ones who knew all and could be counted on to answer any question in a pinch. And their actions were never, ever, questioned.

Alas, some leaders still feel that way. They plod blindly along, not ever knowing how their actions impact those with whom they work. I suspect they are seen by those around them as the “know-it-all-who-doesn’t-really-know-anything”. You know the type, right?

But the role of a leader these days is far too complex to be done in a vacuum. Leaders need information about how they’re doing, what they’re doing well and what they can do better.

What are we talking about? It’s called feedback, and as much as some might fret, it’s not hazardous to their health.

We grow when we can take feedback from others. Sure, some things folks tell us may not be on target, but most of us have blind spots, behaviors and attitudes that get in the way of our effectiveness. I admire the candor of this leader, who posted this comment on True Insider, a web site that offers employees an opportunity to converse with each other about their work experiences:

Some of the greatest feedback that I’ve ever gotten has been from team members who have just wanted to share something they thought we could do better and as a (supervisor) it’s my duty to make my team happy and learn from that feedback. I have not always been a great leader. I have to learn from my mistakes and be open to feedback. If it hadn’t been for some great team members that have demonstrated courage and told me what they didn’t like, I probably wouldn’t be very good at my job.

Bravo to this leader. It’s not easy to ask for and receive feedback. Sometimes your ego can get bruised, but if you’re willing to accept feedback from colleagues you can often push through some of those blind spots.

Try a little feedback on for size. Trust me, you’ll live to tell about it.

(Photo from luckyfish on Flickr)

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