Effective Leaders Ask for Feedback

feedbackOver the years I have encountered people in functional leadership roles who discouraged feedback, those who tolerated feedback, and others who welcomed and valued feedback to such a degree they were intentional about seeking it from a wide variety of constituents on a regular basis.  Unfortunately I have had both bosses and mentors suggest that while there is a role for feedback it should be limited as excessive requests suggest that one lacks vision and the drive needed to move oneself and others toward that shared future.  Thankfully, recent research suggests they were wrong.  In fact, one study found “an exceptionally strong correlation between asking for feedback and overall effectiveness of leaders.”

So What?

I welcome feedback. I encourage feedback from all stakeholders and strive to encourage the use of a variety of channels to allow diverse people to communicate in their preferred format.  I do, however, request that all feedback be signed or include the name of the person offering their wisdom.  In general, when people want to give feedback anonymously it is so that they can share things they would never share if anyone knew they were doing so and/or to be extra mean.  Additionally, one of the core values of Christian community is that “we are known by name.”

  • Share an example of one leader you think of as an exemplar in inviting and using feedback.
  • On a scale of 1-10 in your primary leadership role (personal or professional) how would you rate yourself when it comes to asking for feedback?
  • Provide some feedback about this blog (So What Faith was established in 2009. Since that time I have written over 1,500 posts about matters of faith that matter.  I strive to help start conversations about important topics.)

Comments

  1. Yeah Greg, My feedback is that I think you are right on. I am glad that you said that no amount of feedback is too much. I teach faith communities how to operate like a natural system–in the way that God designed the universe. In natural systems, like our bodies, there is an unending flow of living communication and feedback loops. In this time when we talk about wanting to be adaptive and resilient, feedback loops are the way that we achieve this. In systems thinking feedback loops are the way that we intervene in the system and create change! I also appreciate that you require people to sate who they are. That’s how we build meaningful relationships. Great piece and I always like the nice reflective questions at the end.

  2. Diane, thanks for the thoughtful comments. Your work is truly needed. Inviting feedback and modeling how it can and should work is, in my book, a must for leaders – especially those in faith communities.

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