That Won’t Work

William AuxierblogLeave a Comment

By Bill Auxier, Ph.D.

I belong to a Facebook group made up of authors who have achieved best-seller status.  One of the purposes of the group is to help each other with new books, providing feedback on titles, sub-titles, book covers, etc.  A couple of weeks ago, a newer member of the group posted a book cover for her new book and asked for feedback.  By chance, I was one of the first people to respond.  Her reply to my feedback was interesting.  Remember, she asked for feedback; her reply to my feedback was an explanation as to why I was wrong.  I didn’t reply back, but I did question why I had wasted my time providing the feedback that was asked for.  On top of that, other group members supported my recommendations.  The author’s negative reception of the feedback she asked for has made me reluctant to provide further feedback to her in the future.  That is her loss!


Negativity toward feedback or using the words that convey the message “let me explain why that won’t work” or “let me tell you why you are wrong” is “Habit #8” on Marshall Goldsmith’s list of 20 habits that prevent you from getting to the top.  When you come across this way, you are asserting that you are the expert who is superior to the person you are communicating with.  You are inserting your opinion and being a critic.  Critics are annoying!  Critics are not liked!  People typically avoid critics and avoid helping or working with them.  Being a critic is not conducive to being an effective leader.

Yes, you heard me correctly.  Negativity and being a critic will prevent you from being an effective leader.  Self-awareness of what you say is a good first step to determine if this is a habit that is holding you back.  You can also observe how others deal with you.

  • How often do others come to you with suggestions without your asking?
  • How often do others like to shoot the breeze with you?
  • How do your interactions with others compare with your colleagues?
  • How often do others give you a heads up on something that will affect you?

If other people seem to be avoiding you, check how they relate to you.  Avoidance is a good indicator that you might have a negativity issue.  Effective leaders know how to say something positive or complimentary when a suggestion is offered.

To subscribe to Bill’s blog visit

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.