Reasons Why Leaders Want Validation vs. Honest Feedback #LeadershipCoaching

Have you ever worked for a leader who wanted validation instead of honest feedback? Leaders who don’t want real feedback often ask for feedback. Yet when you give it to them they snap back at you. Surprise! What they actually wanted was validation. So why do they want validation and why didn’t they just ask for it?

Honest Feedback: Image is grounded ship tilting to one side.

Why Do Leaders Want Validation vs. Honest Feedback? Image by Joegoauk Goa via Flickr Creative Commons License.

Image by Joegoauk Goa via Flickr Creative Commons License.

5 Reasons Some Leaders Want Validation vs. Honest Feedback

For thirty years of consulting I have seen leaders resist honest feedback even though they asked for it. They ask employees for their views and then snap back at those brave enough to give it. In many cases what the leaders wanted was validation of their views, decisions, and leadership. So why do some leaders resist honest feedback?

Because they …

  1. Believe that it makes them look weak to get and use input from others. They are mistaken. They look weak when they seek validation.

  2. Are not confident enough to accept what feels like criticism. Yet, they need to accept criticism to build a culture of honest feedback.

  3. Know in some cases that they have no choice but to make a particular decision that they hate. They want others to say “It’s OK” and make them feel better.

  4. Feel pressured to engage employees even though they don’t want to. They are going through the motions and believe the employees can’t see that. Unfortunately, they see right through it.

  5. Mistakenly see leadership as “running the show” and believe they know best. They come across as ego-driven especially when they ask for validation.

If You Are a Leader Who Resists Honest Feedback

  1. Consider how you make employees feel? If you were them, what would you want you to do?

  2. List all your talents and strengths. Secondly, list what you don’t do as well. Then list the strengths of your employees. How do you feel? Insecure that they might be better than you and take your job? Instead of worrying about that, see how you can succeed as leader with the talents of your employees!

  3. If you do ask for feedback, listen to it with an open mind. Truly, the worst thing you could do is ask for feedback and then strike back at those giving it to you. It destroys trust and pushes people away. Moreover, you end up with “yes people” and a lot of silence!

Final Thought for Leaders

Honest feedback will not destroy you. Thinking you know it all will!

From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™

Additional Related Posts:
Avoid These Defensive Replies to Honest Feedback
Does Feedback Drive You to These Negative Reactions?

©2021 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email for permission and guidelines. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.

Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.

Get more inspiration and actionable tips for high engagement results!


Buy Kate Nasser’s new book Leading Morale (


Comments are closed.

KateNasser on Facebook KateNasser Blog KateNasser on Twitter KateNasser on LinkedIn KateNasser on Pinterest