When mistakes are made, often the first instinct is to blame someone else. Regardless of the authenticity of this blame—sometimes a failure really is due to an external factor—research has shown leaders who attempt to justify mistakes or shift the blame are perceived as less effective than those who acknowledge their limitations and ask for advice on how to improve. Defensiveness indicates closed-mindedness, and it’s difficult for growth to occur when critical feedback is deflected. This hinders a leader’s ability to learn and will, in turn, limit a leader’s ability to succeed. So how can a leader limit this negative trait? Don't respond to criticism right away. Often, knee-jerk reactions to feedback come from a place of emotion, rather than logic. Instead, take some time to mull over what has been said, thank the individual for their input, and closely consider their feedback.