How to Receive Feedback as a Leader: Applying Matt Mochary 5 A’s Feedback Approach

Beatriz Boavida
Jan 22, 2024
5 min read

Founding a company is easy; scaling it is hard.

Matt Mochary

This phrase has become quite known in the business sphere and it was written by the expert of CEOs.

As a CEO and even as a leader, you have a tremendous impact on the progress of the company’s or your team’s results. As they say, your team’s success is your success. 

But why is scaling so hard? Let us explain. For a team to go the extra mile and keep great results, two things are needed: motivation and trust. Especially trust in their leader, in YOU. The thing is, to effectively build trust can be tricky. One small mistake and what you have built can just crumble down in an instant.

According to Matt Mochary, one of the most effective ways to build trust is through feedback, particularly the way a leader receives it from their team. Let’s dive deeper.

Benefits of feedback

Everyone should perceive feedback as a conversation. Ideally, one where both parties share positive insights about the situation and the other’s conduct and call each other out on some attitudes or behaviours.

Feedback said constructively and with a focus on the future, is effective in building trust, fostering transparency, and helping one grow, as it shows what one can do better.

As a leader, the way you build space for honest shares and receive feedback can positively influence how your team is around you, their communication, as well as ultimately the quality of their work. 

How to apply the 5 A’s when receiving feedback

More than creating the space for feedback to emerge, in Matt Mochary’s eyes, you, as a leader, should be focused on proactively seeking raw, accurate, and honest feedback from your team. Only then can you truly improve your leadership. Here are a few good habits you can start implementing today:

Ask for it

Ask each person to share their thoughts. For your team members, this can feel a bit daunting at first. To dilute this initial discomfort, make the disclaimer that all feedback shared will be celebrated and not punished.

Acknowledge it

After listening, confirm you heard the message correctly by summarizing it out loud.

Frame this as, for example, “From what I understood you said… Is that right?

Appreciate it

Do not underestimate the power of saying Thank You.

Hold your excuses and give yourself permission to appreciate the feedback - “I hear what you are saying, thank you for sharing”.

Accept it

But only if it makes sense to you. Otherwise, state why you are not accepting it.

Act on it

Use this space for co-creation. Together (with who is giving you feedback) make an action plan to address the situation and grow from there.


Do you want to get excellent results from your team? Start by building trust through feedback, particularly through the way you receive it from your team. Here are the 5 steps you can implement:

  1. Ask for it – Proactively seek feedback (make it synchronous and written) and be mindful of your reaction to negative opinions.
  2. Acknowledge it – Confirm the message by summarizing it out loud.
  3. Appreciate it – Hold your excuses and say Thank You.
  4. Accept it – But only if it makes sense.
  5. Act on it – Set an action plan together. Commit to it and share it with the rest of the organization.

Make your team love mondays!

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