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Saturday
Dec302017

« 9. Defensiveness ruins good leader feedback »

Written by Rachel Green. Director, The Emotional Intelligence Institute. Author of "How to develop emotional resilience and manage your emotions".

Your skills at receiving feedback can say a lot about your emotional intelligence. Being able to hear feedback without becoming defensive is an essential skill for a leader and one that reflects an emotionally intelligent leader.

Yet I have met and heard about many leaders that lack this essential skill - to their detriment, and it is all because of emotions. As a consequence they miss out on valuable input that can advance their careers.

Why risk this? 

  • Are you receptive to being given feedback from anyone?
  • Do you listen with curiosity and interest?
  • Or do you become defensive, start arguing or rush to deny it?

This is the first in a two part series on emotional intelligence for leaders on being able to accept feedback without becoming defensive.

  1. This one explains why it will hinder your performance if you become defensive.
  2. The second article explains how to accept and receive feedback without being defensive so you gain and maintain people's respect and know what is going on around you.

Want to improve your skills as an emotionally intelligent leader so you create a healthy emotional climate where feedback is easily accepted in your organisation? Then book into our smart leadership coaching package.

Your EI: What stops you receiving feedback easily?

Receiving feedback involves and produces all sorts of emotional responses. As a result, some leaders do get very defensive.

  • You may feel threatened, vulnerable, hurt, inadequate, guilty, insulted, anxious, worried, slighted, worthless, or more.
  • You may be overcome with self-doubt; even top leaders such as Michael Chaney and Kate Lamont have admitted to feeling that.
  • You may feel embarrassed that you are not performing well enough and feel a fake.

There are many possibilities and leaders, even those with high levels of emotional intelligence, can still feel such emotions.

It is your reaction to these emotions that usually leads you to behave in the way that you do.

Thus, you may feel threatened, hurt or vulnerable, and then defend yourself because you don't like feeling like that.

Or you may turn your hurt into anger and because you feel angry, you think this can justify your behaviour and being defensive.

Want to improve your skills as an emotionally intelligent leader? Then book into our smart leadership coaching package.

Your emotional intelligence: Why defensiveness is bad for you

Yet there is no need to become defensive. It is seldom a response that is emotionally intelligent.

  • Becoming defensive when receiving feedback blocks communication.
  • Becoming defensive stops you from benefitting from the feedback.
  • Becoming defensive can leave the other person feeling frustrated, unheard and ignored.
  • Becoming defensive breaks rather than builds trust.
  • Being defensive can badly impair your relationships, whether it's with employees, stakeholders or the Board.
  • Worse still, it can impair your reputation and lower the levels of respect people have for you.

It can also make people avoid telling you the truth you need to hear. As a leader you need to know what's going on. Why take these risks? 

Surely there are more emotionally intelligent responses to receiving feedback? There are. We cover them in the second article.

Your emotional intelligence: How high is it?

The ability to receive feedback in a gracious way can be both valuable and a true indicator of just how emotionally intelligent you are and what a good leader you are.

Be a high EI leader and develop your emotional intelligence now.

Want to improve your skills as an emotionally intelligent leader so you create a healthy emotional climate where feedback is easily accepted in your organisation? Then book into our smart leadership coaching package.

For more details or to make a booking e-mail us now or pick up the phone and call us.

Develop your emotional intelligence now.