“Nothing affects the learning culture of an organization more
than the skill with which its executive team receives feedback.”
from Douglas Stone & Sheila Heen’s eye-opening Thanks for the Feedback candidly and systematically breaks down why receiving feedback is so difficult and what we as leaders and our organizations can do about it. Notice the emphasis on receiving feedback rather than offering it. How many times has someone in a senior leadership position asked you for candid feedback about themselves or the organization rather than offering you feedback or telling you something that you “ought to do?”
Does your organization even have a learning culture? Or is it the type organization where a “this is the way we’ve always done it” mindset prevails.
The authors remind us there are three forms of feedback: Appreciation, evaluation, and coaching. Most of us understand appreciation, but often mix up evaluation with coaching. Years of facilitating leadership courses and executive coaching suggests many people and organizations will claim coaching occurs, but more often than not evaluation is occurring rather than coaching. As a result, performance coaching gets a bad rap. An easy indicator: Who is doing the talking in the coaching session? If you are talking more than 25% of the time, it’s not coaching. It’s not even listening.
Indicating your commitment to receiving feedback in your Personal Leadership Philosophy is a great first step. Welcoming it comes next. Leaders embrace feedback.