It’s important for us as leaders to continually grow and develop – right? Few would disagree, and yet we tend to focus much attention on giving feedback effectively and little attention on receiving feedback effectively.

Last week I spent three days on a retreat considering the giving and receiving of feedback, and the qualities that promote and inhibit both. My colleagues and I developed and explored a long list of things that prevent us receiving feedback, including factors relating to the feedback delivery as well as in our hearing and responding.

To get your thoughts started, here are three ways you might be getting in your own way through not effectively receiving feedback:

1. The ‘role’ you are in. I don’t mean your job role – I mean the role you are listening from in that moment, e.g. subject matter expert, husband, junior partner. When my mother gives me feedback (she usually reads my blogs – ‘hi Mum’) and I am listening from the role of ‘mature adult’, I respect her wisdom and take on what she offers. When I listen from the role of ‘daughter’ I find myself resisting her feedback regardless of the value.

2. Personal state. How you are feeling right now may impact on your ability to receive feedback, including health, stress levels, sense of safety, lack of sleep.

If I am very tired at the end of a few days straight training, I deliberately won’t review the participant feedback then. I know if I do, there might be 24 brilliant reviews and one person providing constructive criticism, it’s the critical review that will stay in my thoughts. When I review feedback the next day after a good night’s sleep, I take all responses into account and make good use of the feedback.

3. The feedback doesn’t match your self-image. When debriefing motivational profiles, the only time I encounter resistance to the feedback inherent in a profile is when the view offered doesn’t align with the client’s self-image. Sometimes we are more strongly wedded to the way we like to think we are, than how we actually are.

So many more factors to explore… And that’s for another blog.

How about you? When might you limit your own ability to receive valuable feedback? How could you enhance your leadership by better gaining access and growing from the feedback offered to you?

Share your thoughts below.

Have an Extraordinary day


If giving effective feedback is your challenge, check out “Are you the cause of decimation or elevation?”, a past blog on giving feedback that builds confidence and provides constructive ways performance can be improved.


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