Many leaders ignore this kind of feedback, and certainly don't seek it out. Mueller shows how "corrections are more warmhearted than perfections."
I got a call from a fast-growing bank that was looking for a new agency. The bank had been referred to us by another client, who we were told “was singing our praises.” Which was interesting because I distinctly remember a very rough lunch I had had with that client a few years ago.
He had called me one day to say, “We need to talk.” From the tone of his voice, I knew it wasn’t going to be pretty. We met for lunch, and I said, “Lay it on me.” And he did. I listened, took notes, and promised him a response that day. He and I soon discovered that his marketing person had been throwing Door Number 3 under the bus for things she had failed to do.
But listening, acknowledging, giving him a response with solutions and not pointing fingers made a difference. He and I now go to lunch twice a year or so — an unexpected, but sweet, bonus of working on those existing relationships.