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Leadership / Management Tip
Create a safe space for your team to give you candid feedback.

All leaders, even the best and most loved ones, need honest feedback to ensure they continue to learn and grow personally and professionally. No leader will always make the best decisions. Sooner or later, even the best, most experienced, most conscientious, and most inclusive leaders will make a clearly incorrect, offensive, or off-the-mark decision.

A very effective way to ensure you can receive authentic and helpful feedback is to create a safe, non-threatening, and non-punitive environment and mechanism by which your team can provide honest feedback and suggestions to you. You need to demonstrate, repeatedly, that feedback provided to you will be heard and addressed appropriately. Your team needs to know that they can provide constructive feedback to you without being dismissed, embarrassed, admonished, or fired.

Make no mistake, even if we actively seek it, candid feedback can hurt a leader's feelings. For those with fragile egos, candid feedback can shake them to the core. But this candid feedback is essential for all leaders. By and large, most leaders don't do this well. Many leaders claim they want feedback, but respond in inappropriate, dismissive, or even hostile ways when they receive honest input and suggestions. So be intentional and be among the very rare leaders who are active listeners, authentically reflective, and true lifelong learners by encouraging candid and constructive feedback, and by being intellectually and emotionally ready to authentically and openly receive and address honest feedback.

Also make no mistake that in the absence of such a safe environment, your team will simply speak privately about your poor decisions. This is bad for organizational morale and, importantly, does not allow any opportunity for you to learn and grow as a leader.

If you never receive constructive feedback, take that as a sign that you have not created a safe space for your team, and not as an affirmation of your flawless leadership.






Posted: Saturday, January 21, 2023