Critical Friends / Supportive Peers

Leadership can be tricky and challenging. Leadership can also be isolating and lonely.


I’ve been thinking a lot about how leaders receive feedback. To me, it is important to have critical friends, those trusted personal friends or colleagues who are willing and able to be brutally, specifically honest about my leadership. It is also equally important to be willing to hear the same kind of feedback from peers who are trying to be supportive. However, without a relationship of trust, is that feedback heard?

What if you work with someone who uses the word “um” within every sentence as he presents?

What if you work with someone who does not see how they are perceived by others?

What if you witness someone “coaching” or “leading” by telling and ordering others to do something?

Do you tell them?

If you do, are you a critical friend, a supportive peer, or a competitor?

How do we, as leaders, open ourselves up to these crucial conversations? How do we reflect on our own leadership? How do we have these conversations even if they are difficult? How do we support others, building capacity so that we are surrounded by critical friends who support our work? How do we take the feedback we receive and adjust our leadership to be more supportive, more effective, more open or honest? How do we empower others to feel confident to have these critical conversations?

Just some of my thoughts.  Would love to hear yours…

About Amy's Reflections

Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services in Southern CA, taking time to reflect on leadership and learning
This entry was posted in Leadership, Reflection and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Critical Friends / Supportive Peers

  1. Sheila Krotz says:

    This is such a great reflection, something we discuss frequently! I have to admit, I hope you would have those courageous conversations with me, when needed, as I respect you as a leader!

  2. Marla says:

    I welcome feedback from my colleagues that I have a trusting relationship with because I know it comes from a place of caring. My most trusted colleagues are my principal peers. We have honest dialogue and we offer support which does not seem condescending because we share so many similar experiences. We encourage and push each other and because we have shared our personal journeys with each other, we understand that problems can be complex. For me, a cursory “coaching” remark or feedback does not have the same impact if I don’t have a trusting relationship. That is why as a principal, it is so important to have a relationship with teachers so that coaching be effective for both myself and the teacher. No one cares if they feel you don’t care about them.

  3. Pingback: Even More Quotes That Resonate | Reflections on Leadership and Learning

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