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What makes leaders fear feedback…

And how to overcome it.

Performance feedback is a regular part of one’s job. Yet, in many organizations, when someone attains a position with people management responsibility, evaluation about how one manages others doesn’t happen. In fact, I am aware of so many talent professionals who have or are trying to implement upward feedback and experience tremendous.


Here might be some reasons:

Fear of judgment and criticism: Some leaders may be insecure about their abilities, leading them to fear receiving negative feedback that may damage their self-confidence or credibility.

Perceived threat to authority: Leaders may feel that receiving feedback, especially negative feedback, may undermine their authority and lead to a loss of respect from their subordinates.

Resistance to change: Leaders may have formed habits and patterns in their management style, making them resistant to making changes based on feedback even if it’s for the better.

Ego and pride: Some leaders have a strong sense of ego and pride, making it difficult for them to accept feedback that challenges their beliefs or exposes their weaknesses.

Lack of trust in the source of feedback: Leaders may be hesitant to take feedback from certain individuals or groups, fearing that the feedback might be biased or coming from a place of personal conflict.

Fear of appearing vulnerable: Accepting feedback on their management style may make some leaders feel vulnerable, which they may see as a sign of weakness.

All these feelings above are valid. If you are a manager, do you experience any of these sentiments?

I offer you alternative perspectives to help you overcome these concerns.

Fear of judgment and criticism: It is common to have insecurities and fear judgment. However, constructive feedback provides one with an opportunity for growth. As a leader, displaying a readiness to improve is a sign of strength and adaptability, both of which are key leadership qualities.

Perceived threat to authority: True respect is earned through showing open-mindedness and willingness to learn. Incorporating feedback does not undermine one’s authority; rather, it shows others that their perspective is valued, fostering a healthier, more engaged workplace.

Resistance to change: Change is a constant in every aspect of life, including business. Adapting to change, particularly from valuable feedback, allows for continuous improvement and drives success. It’s not always about wholesale changes but subtle improvements that can make a big difference.

Ego and pride: While having pride in one’s abilities is not inherently wrong, a well-balanced ego understands the value of continuous learning. Views that challenge one’s perspective can lead to personal growth and broader insights.

Lack of trust in the source of feedback: Feedback should be seen as an opportunity for improvement, regardless of its source. Identifying potential bias is important but dismissing feedback solely because of its source may hinder one’s professional growth.

Fear of appearing vulnerable: Vulnerability in leadership isn’t a weakness—it’s a strength. Being open to feedback emphasizes one’s human qualities and encourages a culture of openness and honesty in your team. In turn, this can lead to stronger rapport and respect from subordinates.

Feedback is not a threatening act—it’s a tool for improvement. By embracing feedback, a leader models an important leadership trait: Never stop learning.

You can receive feedback today.

Now that we’ve worked through the objections for receiving feedback, you have a golden opportunity. I just so happen to have a confidential survey that will give you feedback about your people management style. In 5 minutes or less, you can ascertain how skilled you are in 12 areas through a customized report. I applaud you for taking this step.


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