The feedback asymmetry

As a small business owner, you are much likely to hear praise rather than criticism about your company.

Praising an employer has obvious benefits. Praise sounds and feels good in the moment. It is comfortable, and might even earn the employee privileges. They are seen as loyal, faithful, optimistic and solution oriented, rather than somebody who complains and sulks.

Therefore, leaders or owner of firms are likely to hear much praise and little criticism from their employees. The smaller the firm, the bigger this problem is likely to be.

Nevertheless, there are a handful of capable employees who are bold enough to speak up and drop uncomfortable truth bombs about the organization, mainly because they care enough. However, these dissenting voices will often be a minority and are likely to be drowned out by the praise. Therefore, it is easy to dismiss their feedback as being their problem rather than the firm’s problem.

Sadly, when this happens, these capable employees vote with their feet. They quit and work for somebody else. When too many such capable employees leaves, your firm spirals down into a crisis.

Is there a dissenting voice among your best and most experienced hands? Or have some of them suddenly gone silent? In either case, sit them down and have a candid conversation with them. By doing so, you might save your company.

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