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The Worth of Suggestions

Based on the e-book The Management Problem, one of many issues leaders can begin doing to turn into higher leaders is to ask individuals to present them suggestions on how they’re doing. Sadly, the alternative appears to be taking place — that’s, leaders don’t ask for suggestions.

“Most leaders don’t actually need trustworthy suggestions, don’t ask for it, and don’t get a lot of it until it’s compelled on them” (Kouzes & Posner, 2014).

“Self-reflection, the willingness to hunt suggestions, and the flexibility to have interaction in new behaviors primarily based on this info are predictive of future success in managerial jobs” (Kouzes & Posner, 2023, p. 71).

On the Management Practices Stock (LPI) — a 30-item instrument that measures the frequency of management behaviors — Kouzes and Posner (co-authors of The Management Problem) discovered that the assertion leaders persistently reported themselves participating in least usually is “I ask for suggestions on how my actions have an effect on different individuals’s efficiency.” Not surprisingly, followers additionally reported that this was one of many management behaviors their leaders engaged within the least.

In different phrases, the conduct that leaders and their followers think about being essentially the most uncomfortable with is identical conduct that almost all allows leaders to understand how they’re doing! To be able to be taught, you have to be prepared to search out out extra about how your actions are affecting the conduct and efficiency of these round you.

You’re not going to get higher in the event you don’t ask for suggestions.

Based on Sheila Heen and Douglas Stone, of their HBR article (2014): “What makes receiving suggestions so onerous? The method strikes on the rigidity between two core human wants—the necessity to be taught and develop, and the must be accepted simply the best way you’re. Consequently, even a seemingly benign suggestion can depart you feeling offended, anxious, badly handled, or profoundly threatened.”

“One main motive that most individuals, and particularly these in management positions, aren’t proactive in asking for suggestions is their concern of feeling uncovered—uncovered as not being good, as not understanding every part, as not being nearly as good at management as they need to be, as not being as much as the duty. There may be merely no solution to get round the truth that you may’t develop as a pacesetter with out getting suggestions” (Kouzes & Posner, 2017, p. 82).

Researchers found that people who search out disconfirming suggestions (suggestions that’s extra destructive than their very own self-assessment) carry out higher (e.g., extra more likely to obtain monetary bonuses) than those that solely hearken to individuals who see their constructive qualities (Kouzes & Posner, 2017).

Curiously, the extra regularly leaders ask for suggestions, the more practical they’re seen.

“Simply as the most effective firms are involved concerning the high quality of their relationships with their clients, the most effective leaders search suggestions—each constructive and destructive—about how they’re doing of their relationships with their many constituents. Analysis reveals that by amassing suggestions from a wide range of views, particularly friends and direct reviews, people can perceive how they’re seen from all factors of view. They’ll then use this data to evaluate the extent to which they really exhibit exemplary management behaviors” (Kouzes & Posner, 2020, p. 2).

Written By: Steve Nguyen, Ph.D.

Organizational & Management Growth Chief


Heen, S., & Stone, D. (2014). Discover the Teaching in Criticism. https://hbr.org/2014/01/find-the-coaching-in-criticism

Kouzes, J. M., & Posner, B. Z. (2014). To Get Trustworthy Suggestions, Leaders Must Ask. https://hbr.org/2014/02/to-get-honest-feedback-leaders-need-to-ask

Kouzes, J. M., & Posner, B. Z. (2017). The Management Problem (sixth ed.). John Wiley & Sons.

Kouzes, J. M., & Posner, B. Z. (2023). The Management Problem (seventh ed.). John Wiley & Sons.

Kouzes, J. M., & Posner, B. Z. (2020). The Worth of 360-Diploma Suggestions. https://www.leadershipchallenge.com/LeadershipChallenge/media/SiteFiles/property/whitepapers/the-value-of-360-degree-feedback-whitepaper.pdf



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