Never Punish Loyal Employees for being Honest

My new boss told me to never be afraid to give feedback. The next Monday morning in a meeting, I happily shared my viewpoint on a new policy. Thereafter, I noticed my boss’s disposition towards me changed. He stopped talking to me. I was shunned. I even felt the effects of this in my monthly performance appraisal, where he noted, I was not supportive of the organization, and I needed to be a better team player. The picture was quite clear – truthful feedback was not appreciated.

Heather, a co-worker approached me and said, « You are new, honest feedback is just lip service, don’t fall for it. » I quickly learned loyalists and sycophants were appreciated, while realists were punished. They built a culture of « yes employees. » I knew I had so much to offer, yet I couldn’t. Six months later, my boss was fired. He made a mistake on a proposal that cost the company its biggest client. This could have been easily avoided if he had just asked for honest input.

Listening is the most powerful skill a leader can master but it requires humility.

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