Six Reasons Why Leaders Need Feedback

The truth about feedback is that it is a powerful gift. Whether we are a senior leader or an emerging leader, feedback provides us with critical information to become a stronger leader. Without feedback we would have a harder time fine tuning our leadership strategy.

Are we sometimes fearful of hearing feedback from certain people? Sure. But maybe instead of looking at those comments and insights as personal attacks, we can see them as steps to lead more effectively. We can look at the behaviors we can adjust and actions we can take to transform our leadership to a higher level.

Here are six reasons why leaders need feedback:

 1. Feedback helps us see our talents

Leaders often ask me how they can identify their gifts and strengths and I will usually suggest that they ask a colleague or boss or friend to share that feedback with them. People we work closely with can easily recognize the areas we excel and are happy to give us their feedback. Next time you complete a project, ask your co-workers what they thought you contributed most to the solution. Ask them to be specific so you can gain insights into your talents and skills.

2. Feedback points out areas for us to tweak

In the same way we ask our colleagues about our strengths, we can ask them what additional knowledge or experiences could help us be stronger contributors. During our one-on-one sessions with our bosses, make sure to keep an open mind and listen to how we can change some of our approaches to our work to be more impactful. If we want to be influential leaders we must willing to hear constructive feedback and take action.

3. Feedback empowers our future choices

Do you know where your leadership is headed? No matter where we are on our leadership path, we need to chart our futures carefully and with purpose. The global world and our work worlds are constantly changing. That means feedback is more important than ever. The feedback we receive can:

  • Help us think about different options that we may never have considered
  • Steer us towards our expertise and gifts
  • Help us develop a more satisfying career direction

4. Feedback builds deeper relationships

An unimagined benefit of feedback is building meaningful relationships with our colleagues and bosses. When we listen to feedback being offered and have an exchange of ideas we build bonds with others. Those conversations can become the foundation for trusting work relationships. So be an encourager of feedback discussions.

5. Feedback grows our emotional intelligence

A great way to become more emotionally and socially intelligent is to become aware of how we are presenting ourselves. Knowing how we are viewed when we work with others on projects can grow our leadership brand. I once had a co-worker who constantly challenged me. I would become so frustrated that I sometimes would ignore her. I wasn’t even aware I was doing that until our boss brought it to my attention in a feedback session.

  • Become aware of how you speak to team members by asking others
  • Know what situations bring out the worst in you and try to keep calm
  • Don’t allow previous interactions to determine current behavior with colleagues and bosses
  • Key into your non-verbal body language and hand gestures and see if they are affecting the message you are sharing

6. Feedback is critical to leading honestly

To be an authentic leader it is essential to be trustworthy and credible. When leaders are able to receive feedback, hear it with an open perspective and take the appropriate action, they are credible. Colleagues gravitate towards honest leaders and bosses rely on them. We can lead more honestly when we see feedback as a true gift.

How has feedback empowered you to be a stronger leader?

4 thoughts on “Six Reasons Why Leaders Need Feedback

  1. Great article, Terri! I especially like your point about how feedback is critical for honesty…both in the eyes of the team AND for the person receiving the feedback. If a leader can encourage honest feedback, it means they’re able to deflate the ego and accept feedback that may or may not be flattering. Nonetheless, they listen because their motivation is to become a better leader…

  2. Senior leaders get honest and open feedback infrequently. Meaningful feedback can not only come from the people above you, but also from your peers and people who work for you too. Creating a team environment where that feedback is encouraged (and well received) is a gift for everyone. I was lucky enough to have that relationship with people on my team when I was working inside of an organization. Wish that more people did. Feedback is critical. Absolutely with you.


  3. If feedback isn’t honest it is waste of time to offer. Leaders have to be truthful in what they have to share but say it in a respectful way so the other person can hear it. Also, feedback needs to be specific enough so the receiver can take action and make adjustments. Ultimately feedback that is constructive will be a gift for an open-minded leader who wants to grow.

    Thanks LaRae for your excellent additions!

  4. I agree that it is more challenging for senior leaders to hear honest feedback but it can happen if the right climate is set and there is trust. What I have found is that cultivating a level of trust and care for one another is key to developing a healthy feedback mechanism for senior leaders. Before they can hear feedback from different levels they need to be able to hear it from colleagues. That takes practice and commitment to wanting to grow and explore.

    Thanks Alli!

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