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  • Writer's pictureEdwin and George

Clueless: Giving Feedback to David Brent and Ron Burgandy

As fans of the BBC's The Office and Anchorman, we're often in hysterics quoting our favourite parts from both films.

What comes up just as often however are the real life versions of Ricky Gervais and Will Ferrell's characters we've seen in real life. Often these people are completely unaware of how they come across - to the delight of those that used to work with them but the detriment of those that still do.


Research shows that even though most people believe they are self-aware, self-awareness is a truly rare quality: It estimates that only 10%–15% of the people studied actually fit the criteria.

There are four leadership archetypes, each with a different set of opportunities to improve (From Dr Tasha Eurich):

What do you do when you work with these people who are so unaware? Do you take the easy option and say nothing or do you try to give them feedback?

Studies show that that more than 69% of us try to sidestep communicating negative information, and 37% won’t give critical feedback at all. As a result, many leaders (including the ones that lack any self-awareness) remain clueless about how others experience them.


If you are looking to approach this topic Ron Carucci gives the following tips:

1) Approach the conversation with empathy.

2) Test for understanding of the gap.

3) Talk about feelings, not attributions.

4) Point out patterns.

5) Help them stay focused on the future.

If the above fails...then run for the hills but take comfort that you'll laugh about the experience later!

Stay Classy Adelaide.

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