What is the best way to lead someone who doesn’t accept feedback?

Let’s face it, many people aren’t the type to take constructive feedback, no matter how good your intentions might be. It usually doesn’t happen enough that they are used to the idea, and most people aren’t good at delivering feedback, in a way that doesn’t seem like an attack. So what do you do when a team member isn’t open to feedback? The short answer could be the best way to lead them is in the direction of the door. Even with a poor delivery, a reasonable person should recognize the truth within the message. If you truly have someone on your team who is not open to feedback, this should be a sign they are not open to growth. Don’t invest in someone who doesn’t want to grow. Cut them loose! Once you do, you will probably see a positive change in the rest of your team. You will probably have a personal sense of renewed energy, too. The other side of this issue is your team member may be open to feedback, just not from you. If you can’t deliver feedback in a way the team member will want to receive, the problem is you! You have to know the team member well enough to determine how they prefer to receive feedback. If nothing else, ask them how they want to receive feedback. This is mind-blowing advice, right?! There may be some clues to help you recognize when the feedback isn’t connecting though. Does the team member lean back, or try to create distance? You may be leaning into them, or talking loudly, or eating too much garlic! Do they seem distracted? Maybe they have personal issues they are dealing with, or maybe giving feedback 5 minutes before the end of the work day is not great timing. Consider rescheduling for a better time. Finally, if you give feedback and don’t see any change, it may be the team member is not clear on your expectations (your fault and theirs), or they are not capable/willing to take the necessary steps to change. You will have to follow up to determine the root cause, but if the team member is incapable and/or unwilling, it’s time to let them go. In my experience, if the person is incapable, the best thing you can do for them, and your team, is to help them move on. They are probably stressing so much already that getting fired will seem like a blessing to them. As I said before, if they are unwilling, it’s time to let them go, no matter how much you may, or may not, like them. Nice people can be unwilling people, but keeping them on the team is negatively impacting the entire team. I guarantee it! So if you’re struggling in this area and need help determining if you are part of the problem, coaching is a great way to develop a plan to improve your delivery. Coaching is also a great way to help a willing team member grow. So why not request a consult to see how we can work together on next steps? Click the button below to request a free consult.

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