3 Fatal Flaws of Leaders who Avoid Feedback

It’s Guest Post Monday!!! This post is from David Bartosik a fellow blogger. Make sure to check out his blog Here and follow him on Facebook or Twitter. If you would like to have a post featured on my site then click here.

On a scale of light wind to tornado, How often do you encourage Feedback?

Feedback can hurt, but the way you respond to feedback reveals 3 major insights into your leadership capabilities.

Feedback is critical to the success of any organization.

Feedback allows your people to engage with your ideas and criticize your ideas with the hope that it will benefit the ultimate goal of the organization.

When you don’t encourage feedback it reveals 3 insights about your leadership:

1.  Reveals insecurities about who you are and your ideas.

If you decline feedback it could reveal that you are insecure about yourself or about your ideas.  People who are secure in who they are draw people in.  They are confident and willing to engage with people.  They understand relationship management.  Secure people get along with others, work to resolve problems and conflicts and recognize feedback as a means to that end.

As a Christian, our confidence isn’t found in what we do, but in God’s ability to work through us.  My confidence is rooted in His power.  As a Christian deepen your trust in God’s promises….by getting to know his promises!

2.  You have difficulty in finding the truth and moving on.

Do you have those friends that catalog every wrong done against them and then proceed to bring them up time after time?  Let it go!  Leaders don’t allow bitterness to burrow in their hearts.  They mine for the truth found in the criticism and move on and move forward with the project.

3. You move away from your Critics.

Critics in your organization or ministry are often the strongest leaders.  If you decline feedback you are most likely moving away from your critics and segregating yourself from your strongest leaders.  Instead you should be moving toward your critics with nothing to prove to them.  You are completely secure with your ideas and by moving towards your greatest critics you build trust, gain leadership, and mine for truth.

If you are insecure with yourself, cling to past offenses, and run from your critics it is time to re-evaluate your ability to lead and begin the difficult process of asking and engaging with feedback.

This process is critical to building a winning team and a successful outcome to any project or goal.

Question: What are positive reasons to engage in opportunities for feedback from your team? 


Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • There was a time when I didn’t want feedback, I wanted to be the boss and had a misunderstanding of what that meant. Being the leader and listening to others ideas and talking through any situation brings wisdom. I’ve also found that a person in any organization who is overly critical is jealous of others and usually needs to be sorted out like a bad apple.

    • Great thoughts Floyd.

      Great point on how it could be counterintuitive. By seeking feedback it actually shows leadership, whereas “being the boss” can make others feel trampled on or run over. Also, you’re right, feedback as criticism can be mistakenly motivated out of a desire to ruin and destroy instead of seeking to grow and build your organization. I want criticism, but rooted in motives to grow our project and vision. Sounds like this is something you have had to experience in your own business at some point and it grew you as a leader! thanks for the comment Floyd!

  • About five months ago at work I had an idea at work to create a Communications committee. In January the Marketing & Communications committee was officially launched.

    Initially when I had the idea I went through proper channels. First, I went to my Supervisor and expressed to her my idea and the importance and impact the committee would have to enhance communication and build community/relationships in our department. The plan was/is to keep everyone in the “loop” of what is going on because staff are primarily the last to know of big decisions that are made.

    The idea was widely received by my Supervisor and other co-workers and then the big day came when I had to present the idea to the Dean. While he and I were on the same page, there were some differences and in January he launched the idea with “Marketing” in the title for the committee.

    Overall the committee has been a success but it has also received some negative criticism and the people who serve on the committee with me have different of opinion.

    I believe in being an effective leader – regardless of position we have to learn to compromise (not always agree) with others but find common ground. There are always going to people who criticize you and I’m open to it as long as it’s constructive criticism.

    “They mine for the truth found in the criticism and move on and move forward with the project.” I agree wholeheartedly with this. Though I received a hands down on some of my ideas, it didn’t change my motivation or halt our overall goal.

    For most of my life I have been motivated by other peoples’ opinion of me and I put those opinions on a pedastool which in turn prohibited my growth. Now that I’m older and have an active relationship with God, while some opinions bother me, they do not change the person I am in the eyes of God. He is where I find my motivation, strength, and courage to face criticism head on.

    Thank you for this post today!

    • Julie,
      Great story and your willingness to share your life and a real situation of what feedback can and should look like! I love your willingness to bring your ideas before that team and also willing to hear different opinions. It sounds like you were willing to hear what they had to say, receive certain parts of it, and move forward without feeling like it was a personal attack against you. They wanted what they felt was best for the program and you were able to come to a resolution and move forward as a committee. I love that! thanks for the great comment Julie!

  • Great post David, I like your style. I for one am not a fan of negative feed back but I know it’s necessary at times. I firmly believe in brutal honesty, I’m truthful even when it hurts and I appreciate the same from people!

    • Thanks Kimanzi,
      Right back at you man. It sounds like your motivates are clear but it still can be difficult to give that hard feedback; If the person your giving it to knows you want the best for the them, it only helps you and them get better. Thanks for the good words my man.

  • Excellent post David. I am one who will take constructive feedback that will help me be a better leader. God has given me a couple of brothers that I can call about an idea I have for a project or a life situation I am dealing with and they will give me constructive feedback. Sometimes it is not what I necessarily want to hear, but it is what I need to hear. They are brutally honest with me and that is what I appreciate. I asked God to give me men in my life that I can go to for constructive feedback and He delivered as always.

    • Bernard,
      great thoughts man. You’re right, sometimes we don’t want to hear it, but the hope is that when they are brutally honest they have your best at their heart and want the best for you! We want those guys in our lives and I appreciate your heart to pursue those people. Asking God, and he will bring them :)

  • I am growing in this area. I am the kind that would naturally gravitate towards ‘light wind”. I am however growing and I am not indulging my natural tendencies every time.

    I think everyone has a soft inner core and it just takes an understanding of who we are and how feedback works to really benefit from it.

    Thanks for sharing this David. (I did “ouch” a couple of times as I read the post. Discovering new ways to improve – is how I took it)

    • Ngina, great words!
      Thanks for your openness and sharing that this can be challenging at times….and you are not alone! I don’t think any of us like seeing our ideas or style criticized but it is about seeing that criticism as a way to grow and develop and get better….hopefully coming with the right motives and being given with the right motives. Glad to hear it helped you and look forward to checking out your blog in the future :)

  • You didn’t hold back! It can be so easy to run, much harder to face harsh realities (whether true or not).

    But if you don’t learn to embrace criticism you can never grow beyond what you are. Basically you are stuck in a rut and no one can lead from that position.

    • ha! Thanks TC!
      Very true, it can be easy to run, but if you do the difficult work of leaning in to criticism you can learn and grow, otherwise be prepared as you said to be stuck in a rut. Great comment!

  • Nice DB mashup today!!!

  • Boy oh boy, criticism can be hard to take and you are pressing the hard buttons. It stings, but it’s also great for you to learn from others so that you can see where your Leadership needs improvement. Do you find that sometimes people might not want to hurt the other persons feelings and don’t tell them or criticize them David?

    • Lincoln,
      absolutely and as a result stagnancy or lack of growth occurs. And the sad part is, their feelings are hurt when you give them strong feedback which prevents you from wanting to do it in the future..great thoughts Lincoln. Any examples of this in the real world?

      • Absolutely, David I Have worked for many managers that needed Some humility and probably needed to read the bible in my own opinion. However I had not approached them because I felt it would make the situation worse. I am also striving to Lead openly so that I am approachable, so I don’t want to fall into that trap.

        • I agree man, that seems to be a big part. As a leader, asking for it and “leading openly”. Asking when appropriate to those appropriate people and being approachable so people feel comfortable coming to you! Love it Lincoln

    • Lincoln,
      absolutely and as a result stagnancy or lack of growth occurs. And the sad part is, their feelings are hurt when you give them strong feedback which prevents you from wanting to do it in the future..great thoughts Lincoln. Any examples of this in the real world?

  • Nice job, to me the greatest and most positive reason to get feedback is…..it helps you tame your pride.
    We all have pride because we aren’t in heaven yet, this is a daily issue, stronger in others who are less aware of it but pride blinds us and eventually destroys us, feedback is a great way to balance what WE see with what other people are seeing.

    • Marc,
      Absolutely….why are you moving away from your critics, I would say exactly that; pride. You think you can do it better or alone and don’t need them. The reality is those are your strongest leaders and as a result of your pride you are segregating yourself from them. Great words Marc!

  • Hey David,
    I think your spot on with your observations on receiving feedback as a leader. If I could add anything it would be that as a leader, you have to remember the objective for which you lead.

    I think the reason insecurity kicks-in as you mentioned here is because leaders forget that the objective, in all likelihood, is not about them. It’s not personal. If you’re a leader you are also a servant, so recognizing that feedback is essential to leading well for the greater good can often make receiving that feedback, not only easier, but welcomed.

    • Nice insight Marlee,
      It is easy to make it personal and feel like it is a personal assault on you. But its natural to feel that right? For some, these ideas are ones they have been working on for a long time. But like you said, to battle that you are continually reminding yourself that it is for the “greater good” and makes that feedback easier AND welcomed. Thanks Marlee!

  • Awesome post, David!

    For me, I think one of the most positive elements of valuing feedback is communicating that you value the opinions of your partners. It also is a way of saying, “I ask you to teachable because I am teachable.”

    But I think it cannot stop with welcoming feedback. I have certainly been places where we were surveyed to ad nauseum. However, one department published a report after each survey that read, “In lieu of the information received, we will make the following changes…. Here is the timeline you can expect them… We cannot act on “x” due to “y” at this moment. Please let us know your thoughts on these changes in the next survey.”

    Wow! Did I ever start filling out those!

    • Noah!
      yeah there is def. the chance to OVER SURVEY and that is both exhausting and no longer beneficial to the feedback process but instead hampers it and prevents change from happening. There is a balance to it and it sounds like you have had some experiences that help you to know when too much is too much! Thanks for the thoughts Noah

  • I have a little comment box that I let people drop anonymous questions, concerns, or tips in. I think the anonymity of feedback really helps, because then I avoid a lot of the problems and people are more apt to give me honest feedback.

    • What a great idea Loren. I beat you get some great feedback. Thank you for sharing.

  • David, great post. We are in performance evaluation season at my company so this is a timely post. I plan to get feedback from my employees this year. It’s been several years since I’ve asked for feedback.

    • Juan Cruz,

      Those are always fun, glad the post helped:)

      Thank you for stopping by and reading.