Legion often finds that leaders who aren’t open to feedback miss opportunities to hear valuable insights that can improve company leadership and processes. This is an especially harmful habit for start-ups which are vigorously obsessed with the quality of their new products. It is a make or break situation where all resources are considered crucial. Once launched, it would seem a natural time to reflect on process and needed improvements, but these closed-off or defensive leaders often dodge feedback because it feels too personal and uncomfortable.
Avoiding feedback shuts down communication. Unable to face criticism, you may fall short on giving suggestions to those you work with. What’s more, rather than fix issues before they arise, you wait for a crisis and then blow up at the error. The appearance of hostility starts a vicious cycle where people refuse to point out flaws in the system which only fuels their perpetuation. More mistakes, fewer solutions, and increased frustration can lead to long-term problems.
The solution is the remove the personal element. See improving your leadership and communication skills as a development that improves your company. Organizations that do not have good leaders who can accept feedback will inevitably fail to thrive. If an individual is suddenly quiet or seems disengaged at a meeting, ask them privately about it. Be open and not accusatory. Consider beginning with the conversation admitting that you might be wrong and wish to fix it.
This approach creates an open atmosphere where employees feel their input matters and you show the positive tendency of embracing change when it is needed. This is much preferable to a hostile atmosphere where everyone feels on edge. Encourage dialog, and you will find that not only your skills improve but your company succeeds.