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4 Ways Good Leaders Use to Get Honest Feedback

December 4th, 2017

sign with support wordIf you really want feedback, ask for it writes Ron Carucci on the Harvard Business Review blog. "If you’re not soliciting dissent, it’s unlikely you’re hearing the truth about what it’s like to work for you," says the bestselling author and consultant.

"Whether in group meetings, or one on one, people need to feel comfortable pushing back and if you don’t have people routinely offering dissenting ideas, or raising concerns about actions you are contemplating or have taken, you should worry," Carucci adds.

He suggests three other ways to better understand how your team perceives you, and what you can do to make changes in yourself to be a better leader.

  1. Read nonverbal cues. "While people may withhold verbal feedback, their faces and bodies will often tell a different story," Carucci writes. When outgoing team members turn quiet, or in a meeting you sense the energy has suddenly drained away, don't ignore it. Instead, tactfully inquire what it is you did or said that changed the mood.

  2. Monitor your self-justifying inner voice. "If that voice is working to convince you things are fine, step back and re-assess," Carucci says. No questions at the end of a presentation doesn't necessarily mean you did a great job. "Force yourself to consider alternative explanations." But also, don't become too self-critical.
  3. Know your triggers and ask for help. Hate being confronted with your mistakes? Act out when things don't go your way? "Whatever they are, self-aware leaders know their triggers, and let others name them," Carucci writes, advising leaders to encourage their team to call them out when they see that kind of behavior. And, he adds, "Great leaders also apologize when they’ve behaved poorly, cleaning up any emotional messes they’ve left behind."

Image: Stuart Miles /

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