3 Reasons Why CEOs Avoid Getting FeedbackHow are you feeling?How was your weekend?Do I look fat?How much did that cost?It happens. Maybe we’re trying to be polite or interesting. Or maybe we’re just bored. But it happens. We’ll ask a question when we don’t necessarily want the answer. And then we might get sucked into a conversation that we don’t have the time or the wherewithal to endure. Sound familiar? Granted our teaser questions aren’t typical asked at the office, but the analogy holds true. There are A LOT of executives and CEOs who aren’t asking enough (any?) of the hard questions that are critical to a company’s growth and enduring success. But WHY?
- They Don’t Want It.
We’re just being honest. There a many successful CEOs and executives who have a clear idea of what they want and are confident that what they’re doing is already good enough. We applaud their focus and confidence. But we also say, embrace it. Better to think carefully and consciously about whether you really want feedback, and why. If you truly think that you could benefit from someone else’s thinking, then ask for it. If not, then it’s okay not to ask. Please hear us on this. Don’t ask for input for ceremony’s sake. Do it only if you mean it. Do it only if you mean to act on it.
- They Don’t Need It.
This is an interesting one. You may remember the business tome “The Benevolent Dictator: Empower Your Employees Build Your Business and Outwit the Competition”. A widely read and widely applauded book – which attempted to debunk the “myth” that the best leaders are consensus builders – spawned a fanatical movement a few years ago. CEOs with this dictatorial style came to believe that only they possess a valid vision, or are able to steer the ship as the organization grows.
The reality is that leading like a dictator is one of the fastest ways to foster workplace and market discontent. All types of organizations watch their best performers walk out the door because their views aren’t heard. Even a company’s top executive team will make the move to other organizations after too many instances in which the CEO dismissed or ignored their ideas, struggling with the command-and-control leadership style. And make no mistake, this type of CEO rules with absolute power with little or none employee/customer engagement or collaboration.
- They Don’t Know How to Get It
There are many CEOs that understand the value of gaining insight and motivating engagement at all levels from employees to partners to customers. But their problem is in the execution. They see a need, recognize the pain but are unsure how to secure feedback in an effective and actionable way. They’ll ask themselves, “How do I talk to 1000 people?” Do you send out a survey? Do you hold Town Hall meetings? Fortunately, they realize the foolishness of asking for feedback if you’re not prepared to deal with the answers.