All feedback is not created equal. Some, as my mentor Alan Weiss, likes to say “is for the giver, not the receiver.”
One example was at the gym where a guy tapped me on the shoulder in between a set of squats with some helpful advice on my form.
I understood his points, but he wasn’t really there to help. He was there to sell personal training services. I ignored his suggestions (I have been at this a long time and know my weaknesses) and kept with my plan.
Leaders also get a great deal of feedback. But how to judge which is the important feedback from the frivolous? When do you stick with the program and when do you adjust?
Things you should definitely pay attention to:
Unintended consequences of decisions. Even the best policies and strategies can have unanticipated downsides. Be open to hearing them (and actively search them out) so you can discern seriousness and decide if any actions need to be taken.
Discomfort with direction from your key players. Your perfect strategy might have a few hairs on it. Be open to criticism from high performers that highlights the weaknesses of a plan. This might include things like which products to prioritize for development, how to provide customer service to clients, or adjustments to the changes in sales projections.
Feedback that should not be a priority:
Being uncomfortable with decisions that drive more accountability, highlight results, emphasize ROI of decisions, and raise standards for excellence.
A few people will be enthusiastic about chances to improve. Many people will be ok with it, but may take a little while to get on board until they better understand what the changes mean. The rest will never be happy about making positive changes. Unfortunately, these last folks can often be the most vocal.
Remember all feedback is not created equal.
Some is good input that you can use to improve. The rest is often an attempt to keep standards low and maintain a status quo in which people are comfortable.