Ask Skip: How Can I Get Employees to Accept Constructive Criticism & Feedback

All Ask Skip Questions that appear in this blog are actual questions submitted to me directly from blog subscribers or other inquiries that come in through the main website or via my Social Media pages on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. Feel free to submit your own “Leadership, Teamwork or Workplace Communication”question here!


This is a question I get frequently and has a very simple answer.

If you want to have people on your staff be more open to constructive criticism and feedback the simplest solution is to be open to constructive criticism and feedback yourself as an organizational leader.

Few businesses have in place a regular process for giving quality feedback to its organizational leadership regarding their behaviors, actions and strategies and how they impact personnel throughout the company, yet this is the number one way to have everyone in the organization open to constructive feedback in the workplace.

In 1998 & 1999 I attended a leadership development program and both years heard General Norman Schwarzkopf say, “No organization will ever improve until its leaders are open to looking at what is wrong with it.”

A good lesson for all business leaders in today’s economic climate.

Former New York City Mayor Ed Koch, who served The Big Apple from 1978-1989, used to go around the city asking regular citizens 220px-Ed_Koch_95th_congressa very simple question, “how am I doing?”

As Ghandi said, “we have to be the change we want to see in the world.” The same goes for business leaders in their own companies. If you want your people more open to constructive criticism and feedback for improving workplace performance, be the first to go there and have the humility to show you as the business leader are open to it.

Additionally, executive leadership coach Marshall Goldsmith, in his book What Got You Here, Won’t Get You There, offers a model for this type of leadership insights he calls FeedForward. It’s a model I will share with you next week as a follow up to this post, so stay tuned.

Try it and let me know how it goes and what results you get from this championship leadership strategy.

’til next time, make it a great week, and if you’re in the U.S. have a great Thanksgiving Holiday!