‘Why didn’t you speak up earlier?’

A problem that most bosses, managers and CEOs have is a dearth of constructive feedback from their subordinates. When a small disagreement within their team snowballs into a large conflict, they often wonder why somebody did not speak up earlier.

The feedback we receive falls into one of three categories

– What we want to receive

– What we are open to receiving

– What we do not want to receive

From peers and subordinates, we only receive feedback of the first two kinds. It is only natural that they don’t tell us what we do not wish to hear, until things boil over.

Further, the kind of feedback we receive is largely a function of how much vulnerability we display. A boss who is always defending herself and covers up her mistakes is likely to receive much praise, but never any constructive feedback. Unfortunately, this only reinforces their sense of invulnerability.

Growth lies in feedback that is unpleasant, but that which we are open to receiving.

As a leader, if you don’t receive constructive feedback from your team, it is mostly because you aren’t ready to receive it yet. What can you do to change that? How can you signal that you are open to critique?

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