When you look around today in the political, religious, business and social space for leadership, many leaders can no longer take feedback from their followers or contemporaries. We are in the days when any feedback that does not appeal to the ego of the leader is seen as a tool of opposition and it must be silenced.
One of the greatest abilities of a leader is the ability to take feedback from other people. When talking about feedback we also need to understand that there are times the feedback will be what we like and there are times when the feedback may not be too encouraging. What you should note is that even when someone gives you what you think is a negative feedback, it is because they love you and want you to improve.
I understand there are those who do not know how to give feedback. When they send in their feedback it is always as though they have issues with you or they hate you. They say things the way they are and they always forget to mention the things that you are doing well. When people forget to mention what you are doing well in their feedback, it can be very painful but it does not mean they are your enemies.
The way a good feedback should be done is to start with what the person knows how to do well. If you also seen some prospects in the person you should talk about it and let the person see how far they can go. Then you tell them what they are not doing too well. Show them how they can improve in that area and come back to how good they are at other things they do so well. It’s called the sandwich approach. You as a leader must also engage this approach in providing feedback to your followers.
This does not mean you will only take the feedback that is well presented and leave out those ones that are not well presented. I think that some other leaders have also forgotten what feedback means. They think that feedback is only about people telling you how good you are. Once anyone tells them anything apart from good then all the good the person said seems nullified. Some take it a step further and call them enemies.
In the political space, the negative but sincere feedback is always taken as something coming from the opposition. In some religious circles where there is someone always speaking up and saying things the way they should be said, the person might be seen as an agent of darkness or someone planted by enemies of the pastor. If the denomination is such a large one with branches in different parts of the cities and villages, such a ‘critique’ might end up being transferred to one of the villages with very little or no prospect. The senior pastor then expects him or her to go and share the different views in a village where no one will ever hear what he is saying.
For those in the social space of leadership, you will find that some other faithful followers of the leader will gang up against the one always providing the feedback and find a way to ostracize him or her. They make sure he or she is ‘rightfully’ denied of benefits that other members are entitled to until there is some shown remorse and verbalised repentance.
Think about how you have been leading other people in your small or big space. Have you been a good listener to feedback or you always take feedback as something from the enemies? If you cannot take feedback as a leader then you are already planning your own downfall as a leader. Learn to take feedback and make the most of them.
Fola Daniel Adelesi
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