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Brilliant Bosses: I'm a leader, why won't anyone give me feedback?

I’m a leader, why won’t anyone give me feedback?

So, you’re a leader, and you know just how important it is to invite feedback from your teams don’t you?

We hope so.

You ignore the nervous feeling in your stomach, take a deep breath and send out an email to your team, asking them to give you some honest feedback on how they find you as a leader.

Well done. And then…..tumbleweed.

Why does this happen and what can you do about it?

The fact is that if we want an organisation where feedback is shared openly, and our teams feel comfortable in telling us how they feel about leadership performance, then we have to do better than sending the odd survey around every 12 months. Realistically, many people feel a sense of trepidation in providing anything other than glowing feedback to the managers and leaders of an organisation, it can feel risky and challenging, so if you’re a leader, you’ll need to find ways to make it easy for them.

Our tip hints are here:

  1. Ask for feedback, and keep asking. Don't expect people to respond enthusiastically the first time you ask, you may need to ask several times before people work out that you really do want it!

  2. Make it a regular thing. Feedback is not a one-off tick--box exercise, it needs to be an ongoing activity, this helps to support a feedback culture.

  3. Be specific about what you want. A vague request is likely to elicit a vague response, so be clear about what you're looking for.

  4. Give people time to respond. Don't expect a quality response in passing, recognise that people need time to reflect and prepare a helpful answer.

  5. Manage your reactions. It's all about making it easy for people to give you feedback, so make sure that your responses do so, rather than discouraging people from trying again.

You can find out more tips and ideas on feedback on our downloads page, where there are hints and tips sheets, checklists and a link to our podcast.


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