5 Ways Leaders Can Get Critical Feedback

I seek out feedback — not just the kind that validates my awesomeness (you need that, too) — but the kind that highlights opportunities.

As you elevate in your career, it becomes harder to get real, critical feedback. I remember the first time I gave a CEO feedback, I received a look of surprise and then a comment of gratitude. They mentioned that they never get feedback.

I would argue that the board and market give pretty strong feedback. ;)

An important part of leadership is maintaining self-awareness and rationalizing your impact and how you think you’re showing up with the actual word on the street. It’s vital to keep those in check.

Here’s 5 ways to get the feedback you need:

This type of feedback uncovers themes, blind spots, and opportunities.

The things people aren’t comfortable saying directly come out in a revealing way. Don’t just do the survey, make sure you conduct the IDIs. One will give you the broad strokes, and the other will give you the nuance.

Don’t just pick champions, include those that will give critical feedback.

Your coach will likely conduct a 360 and interviews, and tell it to you directly. That’s what you need if you want to improve.

Don’t pick a coach that paints everything as sunshine and unicorns. You need the straight dope to improve.

Learn how to amplify your strengths and work on your opportunity areas — put in the work.

Once you know about your areas of opportunity, let people know what you’re working on.

I know, it’s exposing vulnerability. But it’s how we become better. Having others understand you aren’t perfect builds credibility and trust.

And it opens the door to more authentic conversations.

In every single 1:1.

If you’ve written a user manual, include your perspective about feedback to warm the room for others to share. Always let people know to bring feedback directly to you. That you seek it out and take action.

Let people know you will never stop asking for feedback.

Lead by example and encourage others to share their perspective.

During moments of breakthrough and boldness, praise the contributor and continue to ask for feedback and candor. Take moments to unpack a comment. Ask, “what’s not being said?”

And when you do get feedback, take action on it.



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Rachel Kobetz

I love shaping product cultures that connect people and make technology more human. SVP + Global Head of Design at Expedia Group. Prev. BofA, Amazon, + Samsung