Feedback: Friend or Foe

“Let me give you some feedback.”

feedbackAnyone who’s heard this phrase in a staff meeting knows that these simple words are usually loaded with a punch. Unsolicited feedback is often interpreted as…”Here’s what I think you need to change” which can have the effect of a small land mine exploding in your lap. Those giving it are often well-intentioned—however those who are on the receiving end naturally become defensive and skeptical.

Quality communication is vital in helping ministries move forward. Without a way of communicating strengths, weaknesses, and areas to improve, there can be no personal or organizational growth. The difficulty comes when there is no feedback loop or when the feedback is distorted.

Daniel Goleman, the author of Primal Leadership: Realizing the Power of Emotional Intelligence, identified an epidemic found in organizations with a leader at the helm. He discovered what he calls “CEO disease: the information vacuum around a leader created when people withhold important (and usually unpleasant) information.” In other words, “top executives usually get the least reliable information about how they are doing.” This results in leadership gaps that everyone is aware of except the leader him or herself. This is sort of like walking around with toothpaste on your collar all day. (Everyone else sees it but you.)

Because of this “CEO disease,” the leader’s performance is actually hindered due to their position and lack of adequate feedback given by the individuals they lead. The reasons for this are many; a desire to please the boss, a fear of losing a job, or the loss of respect to name a few.

Leading within the church can be very demanding. Every week a pastor receives feedback on the message, the music, other staff members, families, ministries, etc. But it isn’t valuable if it’s communicated incorrectly or if it’s received with a defensive posture.

At we want to give you a tool that will help you get valuable feedback from your leadership sphere in order to help you address with confidence the leadership gaps that you and others identify. You can download a sample of this leadership feedback tool here.

Ron Marsh is a certified life coach who helps others live in the center of the purpose and passion. Meet Ron at or