Hate Giving Feedback? Dislike Being the Critic?

board/ceo partnership Oct 19, 2021
Hate Giving Feedback? Dislike Being the Critic?


Now this column applies to anyone… or all of us…


But it is aimed at the Board/Chair/CEO Partnership as a key component of Governance as Leadership. I confess that I am a fan of Dan Pink.


His books, articles and podcasts are thought-provoking and helpful. He recently picked up on an idea from Shane Parrish and extended it. I am reporting on it here. If you’d like to see the original podcast, it is here.


In essence, bottom line: Don’t Ask for Feedback: Ask for Advice.


A colleague once told me that feedback is somewhat akin to getting a gift from your in-laws: you have no choice but to accept it – and graciously at that – but what you did with it afterwards was really up to you – display it, work and play with it, use it from time to time, stuff it under the bathroom counter to be brought out only when necessary, toss it out with the trash…


And that is on the receiving end!


But you know that most of us find it very challenging to give feedback. We get nervous and anxious when asked for it. Feedback creates a critic. But we love being asked for advice. It is flattering! We don’t like being tough and critical even when it is justified. But advice cloaks that toughness in something softer and more comfortable


Now feedback can be positive or negative. But it needs to be actionable. And asking for advice is asking for the action steps to get better. Feedback can often lead to an adversarial relationship as one proposes and the other defends. But advice can create a partner or strengthen a partnership.


So don’t give feedback, give advice.


What are your main “pain points” dealing with feedback to the Chair or Executive Director?

What advice would be most helpful to you?

Consider posting in our Facebook Group for Executive Directors and Board members: Governance as Leadership

And we always assume that you are asking for a friend!


Get in touch. We’ll address your questions and concerns in an upcoming blog post.


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You can get more of our thoughts on Facebook and LinkedIn. Join our Facebook Group for Executive Directors and Board members: Governance as Leadership


P.S. May I ask a tiny favour? 

Would you mind sharing this blog with one person? I would love it. You can post the links in your Facebook Groups, LinkedIn or even send an email. 

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