Accepting Feedback

Leading without feedback is like driving a car in unfamiliar territory in the dark with no reference points. You may have a map and know exactly where you want to go. But if you can’t pinpoint where you are, you’ll be lost. The famous 19th century American frontiersman, Daniel Boone, once quipped, “I was never lost, but I was bewildered once for three days.” Of course, being a real man he likely refused to ask for directions! Not only are many feedback-impaired leaders lost, but most refuse to ask anyone else to help them figure out where they are.

Joe Folkman has spent his long career designing feedback assessments and approaches, and helping leaders build their leadership skills around this input. He’s the foremost authority on feedback. I highly recommend Joe’s book The Power of Feedback: 35 Principles for Turning Feedback from Others into Personal and Professional Change. You can read my review of the book at Book Review: The Power of Feedback by Joe Folkman and excepts from it at Thoughts That Make You Go Hmmm on … The Power of Feedback by Joe Folkman.

His most recent column offers these keys for accepting feedback:

1. Assume others’ perceptions of you are real.

2. You need to care.

3. Be confident and courageous.

4. Be honest with yourself.

5. Take steps to change.

You can read more about each step at 5 Ways To Calm ‘Feedback Fires’: What We Can Learn From Celebrity Meltdowns. Decades of Joe’s research has proven that, “leaders need feedback to be effective. There is an extremely strong correlation between a leader’s ability to accept and utilize feedback and their overall effectiveness as a leader.”

For over 30 years, Jim Clemmer’s practical leadership approaches have been inspiring action and achieving results. He has delivered thousands of keynote presentations, workshops, and management team retreats to hundreds of organizations around the globe moving his audiences from inspiration to application. He’s listed in the World’s Top 30 Most Influential Leadership Gurus based on research with 22,000 global business people, consultants, academics and MBAs. His website is

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