Feedback matters. What you do with it matters even more. Successful higher-level leaders welcome, even invite feedback. However, many people in leadership positions have a fear and resentment about feedback. I have known people in positions of leadership both in the corporate world and in ministry who refused to accept any feedback or criticism.
Can you imagine a person changing companies every year or two simply because their annual evaluation came back with an area to work on? I’ve witnessed it and heard of it multiple times. We all have areas we need to work on. Running from those weak areas will never solve the issues and will stifle our growth and keep us from climbing the ladder of leadership and success.
The story is told of a fortune 500, computer company, surviving the technology bust around the turn of the 21st century and the biggest layoff in company history. A survey was given to all company employees with not so warm results. The survey revealed employees impression of the top officers in the company; the company’s CEO was considered impersonal and emotionally detached. The company president was autocratic and antagonistic. There were other such words used as well, but you get the picture. More than half of the employees stated they would leave the company if provided an opportunity.
Fortunately, this CEO and his president did not do as most in the business world. They actually took the survey to heart. Realizing that over half of your workforce is ready to walk out the door is not a comforting feeling for anyone in leadership. – Or, at least it should not be a comfortable feeling. That large of a percentage cannot be wrong. Changes need to be made.
This CEO and his president knew they had to take a long hard look at their own conduct and leadership styles. Both men studied, received counsel, and began working on correcting their poor behavior patterns. Videos from the CEO, about the wake up call, were played for all company employees. Changes began to take place – not only in these two men. But also in the overall atmosphere of the company.
In many organizations, if this type feedback had been revealed, the persons in leadership would have ignored the information or tightened the screws a little more in their ill-fated leading. This type behavior certainly will drive away the best leaders and workers in the organization. Turnover will be extremely high and quality of work low. It happens in business.. It happens in ministry.
Today, that computer company is one of the largest, holding a high market share, and is a stronger company than before. Why? Because the two men at the top realized the change needed to start at the top. The realization that their leadership was the biggest factor holding the company back. Their willingness to make the needed adjustments in their own lives perhaps saved the company and put it on solid, growing ground where it has remained for the last sixteen years.
My prayer is that as a leader you will always welcome, even invite feedback, especially constructive feedback. This is the only way you will grow as a leader and the only way to progress through the levels of leadership. Feedback matters. What you do with it matters even more.
George Yates is a Life Purpose Coach and Church Health Strategist assisting individuals, churches, and organizations in fulfilling their God-given purpose in life. Visit SonC.A.R.E. Ministries online and see the leadership resources available.