Bosses who ask for feedback


If I was an employee again I think I would want to work for this guy – Kevin Sharer, CEO of Amgen.

A sample from his interview in the 3/28/09 NY Times Corner Office piece.

“So I posed several questions to the senior staff: What are the three things you’d like to make sure that we keep? What three things would you like to change? What is it that you would like me to do? What is it you’re afraid I’m going to do? And then, finally: Is there anything else you want to talk about?I talked to the top 150 people in the company one at a time for an hour. I invited them to bring in, if they wished, written responses so I could have them. I took very careful notes. I wasn’t trying to sell anything. I was trying to deeply listen. And in a science-based company, we value data, and this was social data of profound importance. So I synthesized all the answers and I wrote, just before I became C.E.O., here’s what you guys told me and here’s what I think about it, and so here’s our priorities. People were enthusiastic and honest in talking to me, and it also helped me to get to know the top people in the company better. ”

Comment: In my work with introverts I have found that they are successful when they apply  their preference for analysis and preparation to people issues.  CEO Sharer was able to gain trust and candor by listening. His business strategy hinged on getting this honest feedback.

Another quote: “I’m a very coachable person and I’m sincerely open to and I seek feedback, because that’s the only way that you can grow as a C.E.O., which is a very isolating job. And so if you don’t create mechanisms to get authentic feedback, you won’t. ”

Can you give feedback to your boss? Do you encourage your team to give it to you? Do tell.


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