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Are You a Good Receiver? (#72)

The Confident Leader




A few years ago, I was attempting to teach my youngest son a lesson about using his gifts and talents. I caught myself using the saying, to whom much is given much is expected


With as much drama as I could muster, I ended my lecture by offering, “to whom much is given…” at which time he said, “much must be received.” 


Stunned that he interrupted me at my parenting crescendo I didn’t trust that I had heard him correctly. “What did you say?” I asked. 


“Much must be received.” He saw my confusion and added, “Dad, if you are given a lot then it’s a lot to have to receive all of that.” His deadpan delivery gave way to a wry smile which caused me to burst out laughing.

“Be a good receiver.”

— Cindy Pou (Mom of Robin Pou)


This Week’s Edition



Generally, as people we’re not great at receiving. We’re challenged in receiving help, input, advice, feedback, or compliments. Leaders may not be any different. What affect does that have on their team?


Clarify Your Thinking



The leaders I work with are earnest, intentional and generous. Their teams enjoy them, and at this time of year, it is common for them to receive: 

  • Affirmation of their leadership qualities and

  • Acknowledgement of how they have impacted the lives of their team members.


Leaders confide in me that it is hard to receive compliments or praise because: 

  • They don’t think the compliment is accurate. Meaning, they don’t think they truly have that leadership quality.

  • It wasn’t solely them who made the impact. Because it was a team effort, they don’t want to be seen as taking all the credit.

  • They don’t believe they had the impact being described.

  • They don’t deserve the compliment or credit because they aren’t the leader they truly aspire to be. They know their faults too well.


As a result of this type of thinking, leaders have developed some wily deflection techniques:

  • “It wasn’t me. It was the team.”

  • “You must be mistaken. I couldn’t have had that big an impact.”

  • “Oh, I didn’t do anything. Let’s talk about you. You are the best.”


This doubt about their leadership identity or their impact is a thinking issue, one where the leader is focused primarily on themselves and not the giver of the comment. 


Unfortunately deflecting in this way negatively impacts the team by: 

  • Making the giver of the comment wrong about their experience.

  • Dampening the enthusiasm to share their experience.

  • Effectively training the team to no longer offer this type of input.


If our inability to receive is having a negative impact on our team, we have to make a change.  








Thoughts Lead to Actions



Due to the commonplace thinking issues identified above, for some leaders it’s hard to receive. As a result, we don’t always do it well.


Here are two simple steps to move from pushing compliments away in a type of leadership Heisman stance to a posture of embracing them, thereby honoring your team.


Step 1: Recognize that the giver of the comment is expressing their thoughts, opinions, and experience. On some level, it has nothing to do with you. It is about them. Let them have their moment. 


Step 2: Growing up, my mom always reminded us be good receivers which meant just saying, “thank you.”  When you don’t know what else to say, simply say, “thank you.” Add a nice smile and you are done.


Bonus: Reflect personally on what was shared and why you are challenged with receiving the comment. 


In a season of giving, it’s best to bone up on being a good receiver. 


Boost Your Performance

I recently had the be-a-good-receiver line used against me. I had to submit to invitation and be a good receiver. Find out the details in this week’s video.

What’s Your Opinion?



Share with me what holds you back from being a good receiver at :



Don’t let doubt count you out. Have a confident week!

Robin Pou, Chief Advisor and Strategist



If this was helpful, feel free to share it with another leader who needs to defeat doubt and complete their confidence.

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What is “The Confident Leader”?

During the Covid-19 Pandemic, I began a video series called “Panic or Plan?” It was designed to equip leaders to navigate the doubt they experienced and to rise in the confidence they needed to lead during turbulent times. It took off. I then started this newsletter to equip leaders in the same fashion each week for the doubt that crashes across the bow of their leaderSHIP.



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